‘Ah Vaiter Kuk Fun a Rebbe’: Farbrengens, learning, and l’chaims were seen taking place Sunday throughout Oholei Torah, commemorating sixty-eight years of pure chinuch.
Yud Tes Teves marks a significant moment in Oholei Torah history. On this day, under the direction of the Rebbe, Rabbi Michoel Teitelbaum a”h opened its doors to a handful of Talmidim in a small shul in Brownsville. Sixty eight years later, the school’s four campuses are home to approximately 2000 students across its five divisions and thousands of alumni the world over. The founding of Oholei Torah marked a pivotal moment, not just for Oholei Torah, but for the Rebbe setting the direction for all Chadorim.
However, Oholei Torah’s inception is unlike any other. Aside from the Rebbe’s direct instruction to start the Yeshiva and his constant involvement in its growth and development, during its first formative years, the founders would consult with the Rebbe each year about whether to continue the school, as well as to seek advice regarding the financial toll it was taking on them. As famously shared by Rabbi Teitelbaum, the Rebbe responded, “אייער טרחא און מיינע געלט- Your work and my money”. Year after year, Rabbi Teitelbaum would meet with the Rebbe, bringing along the yearly bill. While single handedly covering the school budget, the Rebbe continued to encourage him to keep doing the important work of Chinuch Al Taharas Hakodesh. After some time, Rabbi Dovid and Sarah Deitsch a”h graciously took over the honor and responsibility of funding the Yeshiva and remained financially committed to the work.
Throughout the years, under the expansive leadership of Rabbi Yosef Rosenfeld a”h, the Yeshiva continued to grow, spanning from Preschool all the way through Zal, including Cheder, Mechina, and Mesivta divisions.
Unique to Oholei Torah, its birthday falls in the middle of the school year, highlighting the exceptional commitment that Rabbi Teitelbaum and the founding families displayed by opening the school as soon as the opportunity arose.
On Sunday, Yud Tes Teves, each class in Oholei Torah’s Cheder, Mechina, and Mesivta divisions made a birthday farbrengen, using a prepared curriculum, customized cupcakes, and l’chaim. As part of the farbrengen, Talmidim heard video testimonials from Oholei Torah’s founders, as well as from one of the first students, Rabbi Yosef Baumgarten, and his parents, Rabbi Mendel and Nechama Baumgarten.
“When the Rebbe gave haskama and bracha, I didn’t worry,” relayed Mrs. Nechama Baumgarten in an interview. Rabbi Yosef Baumgarten shared his experience as a first grader joining the new school and how it started: “The shoresh of Oholei Torah is mesiras nefesh. It was started by the Rebbe al taharas hakodesh. [At the time] No one understood what was going on or why. We now realize ‘ah vaiter kuk fun a Rebbe’– that he does something and years later, you see the whole situation.”
Now, under the leadership of Rabbi Mendel Blau, together with the Menahalim and Mechanchim, as well as the support from the dedicated Board of Directors and remarkable parent body, Oholei Torah remains steadfastly committed to advancing the Rebbe’s vision for high quality Chinuch Al Taharas Hakodesh. The sole priority that governs the Yeshiva is the advancement of the Talmidim to develop as healthy Yidden and Chassidim in mind, body, and soul, instilling in them Yiras Shomayim, passion, and love for Hashem, Torah, and a fellow Yid.
Permeated throughout the bustling hallways and classrooms of Oholei Torah, the Rebbe’s vision stands stronger and truer than ever. As the Rebbe writes in a letter from 5743 about Oholei Torah: “חינוך על טהרת הקודש, אין דער פולסטער מאס- only through a Torah-true education in the fullest measure is it possible to bring out the divine capacities and inner feelings which Hashem has implanted in every Yiddishe child.”