People pay thousands of dollars to fly to Eretz Yisroel to merit meeting and basking in the warmth of the venerated Gaon and Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevezh, Hagaon Harav Berel Povarsky, shlita. Next week he will literally be in our own backyard as he graces this year’s Second Annual Acheinu Parlor Meeting to be held on Thursday, November 8, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Simcha Applegrad.
Those who have had the zechus to meet with Harav Berel Povarsky, shlita, have consistently been uplifted by the tremendous warmth and love for every Jew that he exudes. When talking with Rav Berel – the way that he connects with you, no matter who you are, makes you forget that you are in the presence of one of the gaonei hador. His warmth and humility make you momentarily forget that you are talking with a person who has written seforim on all areas of Torah; that you are talking to a Rosh Yeshiva who has been delivering shiurim at Ponovezh for more than 50 years. He is so approachable, accessible and warm, it is virtually impossible to walk away from an encounter with Rav Berel untouched.
Rav Berel Povarsky, one of the most enthusiastic supporters of Acheinu, has closely followed and encouraged Acheinu’s accountable Kiruv Rechokim efforts. He has seen their more than 93% success rate and has encouraged them not to ease their efforts to bring Hashem’s children back to our Father in Heaven.
Why Rav Berel Feels Such a Connection With Acheinu
In truth, Rav Berel himself has a unique historical perspective about the amazing achievements of Acheinu in helping youth in Eretz Yisroel who, through no fault of their own, have been estranged from Hashem. Rav Berel came to Eretz Yisroel on the eve of the Holocaust together with his venerated father, Hagaon Harav Dovid Povarsky, zt”l, who was a senior Rosh Yeshiva of Ponovezh together with Hagaon Harav Elazar Shach, zt”l and Rav Shmuel Rozovsky, zt”l. In fact, when the Ponovezher Rov founded the Ponovezh yeshiva in 1943, Rav Berel was one of its founding talmidim.
During the early years of the State of Israel when Rav Berel was learning in Ponovezh he was a firsthand witness to the designs of the Jewish Agency to strip Yiddishkeit away from the unwitting immigrants flooding the shores of Eretz Yisroel from both the Sephardic lands and the killing fields of Eastern Europe. He, together with other bochurim from Ponovezh, tried to infiltrate the tent cities for immigrants that the government had erected in order to smuggle the youth out to yeshivos where they would be able to continue the hallowed Jewish heritage that they had observed for centuries in the lands of their youth.
Additionally, Rav Berel has a unique understanding of the challenges of those immigrants who most recently came from Russia, because he too suffered in his youth under the cruel Communists who tried to inculcate in him their G-dless ideology.
As a child he was forced by the Russian government to learn in a Communist public school. One day he came home saying that his teachers had insisted that he remove his yarmulke. When his father heard this, he packed up his family and fled their hometown of Baranovitch. Ultimately, the Povarsky family embarked on the long journey that would bring them to Eretz Yisroel just before the Nazis overran Europe.
Thus Rav Berel has a special place in his heart for the youth to which Acheinu reaches out, youth who, through no fault of their own, have not been granted a Jewish education. Every time he sees a new ben Torah and ben yeshiva transformed from these youth, he is filled with indescribable joy.
Outpouring of Support From Flatbush Rabbanim and Community
Last year’s First Annual Acheinu Parlor Meeting featured the Mashgiach of Lakewood, Hagaon Harav Mattisyahu Salomon, shlita, and attracted a huge crowd.
Acheinu askanim anticipate a tremendous response for this unique opportunity to personally greet Rav Berel.
Rav Berel will be introduced by Harav Shlomo Cynamon, shlita, Rav of K’hal Bnei Torah and Rosh Kollel of Kollel Dirshu of Flatbush. Rav Cynamon, an erudite talmid chochom and maggid shiur had the zechus to learn at the Ponovezh Yeshiva and hear shiurim from Rav Berel.
The event will be chaired by the well known askan and rishon l’chol davar shebekedusha Reb Chaskel Bennett.
Over the years, those familiar with Acheinu’s amazing work or those who have merited seeing it up close have been extremely impressed. That is why Acheinu has the zechus of such a prominent parlor meeting reception committee led by community leaders Simcha Applegrad, Efroim Fasten, Shulky Greenwald, Menacham Jakubovic, Menachem Katz, Yitzy Leshinsky, Menachem Lipman, Yanky Miller, Moshe Muller, Dovid Morgenstern, Shamshon Pinter, Mendy Strauss, Levi Zagelbaum and Gedaliah Zlotowitz.
Rabbi Moshe Simcha Levine, Acheinu’s Executive Director related, “I am so pleased that we have such a group of devoted Flatbush askanim who are dedicated b’lev v’nefesh to Acheinu’s mission and have encouraged their friends to avail themselves of the unique opportunity to hear Rav Berel Povarsky and be inspired by his words of chizuk and by Acheinu’s story.”
Rabbi Levine concludes, “The Acheinu Parlor Meeting Thursday, November 8, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Simcha Applegrad, 1266 E. 32nd Street between Aves. L and M will be a totally unique and inspiring event. It is an opportunity not to be missed!
(YWN Desk – NYC)