Dr. Henry Kissinger and His Letter in the Unity Sefer Torah

Florida Shliach Rabbi Raphael Tennenhaus relates an interesting anecdote from his encounter with Dr. Henry Kissinger, who recently passed away, and how he signed him up for a letter in the Rebbe’s Unity Sefer Torah.

By Rabbi Raphael Tennenhaus

Dr. Henry Kissinger grew up in Furth, Germany, a very prominent and Frum Jewish community.

The senior Kissingers were good friends with my grandparents הי״ד, Rabbi Raphael and Adele Faust.

Originally, the school my mother Hanna (Chana) Faust (Tennenhaus) z”l went to, was an all-girls Agudah-related school.

After the Nazis ימ״ש came to power, the school was forced to become mixed, and my mother got to know Henry very well.

My mother said, “Henry wasn’t that great a student, but he was good at playing soccer.”

They corresponded after the War for 5-6 decades. Most of my mother’s letters to and from the Kissingers, (there are dozens of letters in my files) were to Henry’s mother z”l who lived in Washington Heights. Henry’s father, an attorney, helped my mother get compensation from the Germans.

My aunt Mrs. Francis Frankel z”l, whose husband was Chazzan Robert Frankel z”l from Breuer’s for 60 years, visited Henry’s mother every Erev Shabbos.

My aunt told me that among other items in Mrs. Kissinger’s room, was a real Megillah in her drawer for Purim.

In April 1982, Dr. Kissinger was coming to speak in Miami Beach. Rabbi Pinchas Weberman z”l, connected me to Mr. Harry Walker, z”l, Dr. Kissinger’s agent at that time, to see if I could meet Dr Kissinger. Harry Walker was a Yid a Shomer Shabbos who davened at Rabbi Weberman’s Shul. He ran the Harry Walker Agency.

He was very friendly when he heard my “connection to Dr. K”, and told me he would let me into the cocktail reception, which had approximately 100 people planning to attend, that was to follow his speech to 1500 people.

When I introduced myself to Dr. Kissinger, I gave him my mother’s novel about the Holocaust, “Eva”, and he asked me: How is Hanna? How is your mother Hanna?

I then proceeded to tell him about the Rebbe’s Campaign to include every Jew in a Torah Scroll for Jewish Unity.

I asked him: What’s your Hebrew name, Chaim? He said no! I asked: Henach? He said no. I asked: Hirshel? He again said no.

About 20-30 people were observing this discussion. Dr Kissinger then bent his head a bit backward to try to remember his Hebrew name. After a long minute that felt like an eternity, Dr Kissinger exclaimed: Avrohom! My Hebrew name is Avrohom. (His middle initial was A for Alfred)…

I had him sign his name on the back of “A Thought for the Week”. When I asked him: What’s your mother’s Hebrew name… he immediately responded: That I for sure won’t remember.

יש קונה את עולמו בשעה אחת.

In one moment, one can acquire the world to come. Who knows what this merit will bring to Dr. Kissinger, who grew up frum, some say as a young boy he memorized Mishnayos Midos by heart, and there definitely was a period of time that the Rebbe had some interaction with him.

May the current war in Eretz Yisroel end swiftly with a 100% victory for Israel, continue to wake up the Pintele Yid in Jews in Eretz Yisroel and around the world, and may we merit the immediate revelation of Moshiach, NOW!

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  1. Beautiful story and history.
    My aunt A”H grew up in Furth, and her teacher (presumably for middle school), a young man at the time, was Henry Kissinger’s father A’H. She told us that she remembered when Henry’s father got engaged to his mother. My great-aunt also was a Washington Heights neighbor and friend of Henry’s mother. These women were all frum Jews, Yekkes.

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