Reb Yisroel Friedman’s Daughter Pays Tribute in New N’shei

The upcoming Tammuz edition of the N’shei Chabad Newsletter is full of compelling articles, but one particular article stands out: A tribute to Reb Yisroel Friedman, longtime beloved Rosh Yeshiva of Oholei Torah.

By N’shei Chabad Newsletter Staff

“Kosher Butcher Goes Vegan”

This is how Guggie Tzivin humorously describes her own move towards adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet. But why are so many people going plant-based? And if it really works, why don’t doctors tell us about it? Find out in the Gimmel Tammuz issue! Subscribe now and while you’re at it, subscribe everyone whose health and well-being are important to you.

Ida Rochel Nedobora was a child actress in Russia, where she played the part of a Jewish child during the Holocaust. No wonder she thought being Jewish was bad news. When her counselor gave her the Best Camper prize at the end of camp, everything began to change. Decades later, she wanted to find that counselor, but there was no counselor named Cheyenna! Treat yourself to the whole story, with photos, in the Gimmel Tammuz N’shei Chabad Newsletter

Esther Etiquette will revamp your pre-camp shopping for you. You won’t find her life-changing tips anywhere but here.

Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson remembers his Oholei Torah Rosh Yeshivah, Reb Yisroel Friedman:

One summer I met him in the street… I told him that I had been at a beautiful resort in the Catskills. I described how on Sunday, everyone goes out to the porch, makes a BBQ, and consumes lots of meat and beer. Upon hearing this, Reb Yisroel gaped at me as though I was describing people eating glass for pleasure. Then he replied with empathy: “Ah rachmanus oif zei, poor souls…”  He told me, “Nobody ever explained to them in a real way the spiritual oneness of the universe, and their own infinite connection with all of it. So they need to resort to externals to satisfy their voids.” His compassionate reaction made me realize that, indeed, he was completely in another world. He was not angry or judgmental, just surprised and startled.

Reb Yisroel’s daughter Rochelle Friedman remembers him as well, from an entirely different vantage point:

While my father’s learning was something I appreciated, I realize in retrospect how much I took the natural presence of sefarim and the lilting tune of a Gemara or maamar niggun for granted. Regardless of how early I would wake up, my father was invariably already long awake, learning in his study. There were different occasions where my groggy journey to bed, after having fallen asleep on the sofa Friday night, collided with my father waking up at 4 a.m. to learn. He would waylay me and ask if I wanted to learn something. I remember learning Tur and the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch for an hour before I went to bed.

Miriam Paltiel Nevel’s new book about her grandfather, Zaide: Stories of Reb Yisroel Neveler and My Childhood, is out! The story of Kolia is indicative of how Miriam Paltiel Nevel writes. She has the voice of the child experiencing the events, though occasionally she reverts to the adult she is now and comments on the  child’s experiences. Then right back to “being” the child. It’s an unusual style, one that many successful writers and editors have commented on. Meet Kolia:

Hospital in Omsk

This story took place in Omsk, Siberia, when Miriam was about six years old, and her brother Ethan was about eight. 

“My brother Ethan caught a cold, which quickly became pneumonia, and he was in the hospital.

“I walked out of the large open gate of the children’s home where my younger brother and I were staying. I had two places to visit:

“An eating place for which my father had tickets from the bank where he worked. He didn’t eat there himself as this was not a kosher eating place, but for a child’s survival in time of hunger and war, according to my father’s thinking, kashrus had to be put aside.  So I went to eat in the bank employees’ eatery.

“I remember how I overheard women clustered in front of the eating place talking about eggs. And how before the war they used to eat eggs every day, and how soft and delicious eggs tasted. That seemed wonderful to me, for I didn’t remember ever eating eggs, nor could I know how eggs tasted.

“The second much more important place I visited was the hospital where my brother was. Ethan stood in the window of the hospital, crying. I looked at him from the outside, and tried to smile to make him not cry, but I couldn’t achieve my purpose. Ethan kept crying, and crying, and crying.

“I found out later that Ethan had run away from the hospital to our room. He was wearing but a thin cotton hospital gown. When he came home, Papa was not there, and there was no one to let him into our room. He sat on the front step for a while freezing in the Siberian winter, and then having no choice but to go back to the hospital, he turned around and went back.

“A short while later, I ended up in the hospital because of stomach worms which I had contracted in the children’s home.

“I was put in a room with two beds. My bed was large with a headboard and a footboard both made of brass poles.  The other bed in the room was of regular size, occupied by a big boy whose name was Kolia. Kolia was blind. And other children in the ward would come into the room, and torture and make fun of poor Kolia. They’d pretend to give Kolia some goody to eat, and when he stretched out his hand to take the morsel, they would snatch it away. Sometimes they would spill water all over Kolia and his bed, and an angry nurse had to come and change Kolia’s gown and his sheets.

“I stood on my big bed with my hands holding the brass poles and I sang Soviet songs of which I knew many having learned them in the children’s home.

“My singing made Kolia feel more cheerful. He smiled and told me how much he liked my singing.”

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