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Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel Graces Historic Semicha Ceremony, Highlighting Renaissance of German Jewry

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It was a moving moment on Monday, November 3rd, as Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, addressed the ceremony in honor of the semicha, rabbinic ordination, of two members of the Bais Medrash L’Rabbanim – Rabbinerseminar of Berlin, Germany.

The ceremony, held in the German city of Wurzberg, honored two yungerleit who graduated the program and will be at the helm of growing German Jewish communities. Rabbiner Shlomo Aminov, a native of Uzbekistan, will assume the position as Rav of Bonn. Rabbi Jakow (Yaakov) Pertsovski, a native of Ukraine, will assume the position as Rav in Chemnitz.

Rabbi Zwiebel was visibly emotional as he recounted, while standing on soil drenched with Jewish blood, his childhood as the son of orphaned Holocaust survivors: “It never occurred to me that I would one day visit Germany and discover a vibrant Jewish community in which even my grandparents and their children would have taken pride…I am a personal eyewitness to the incredible – miraculous – rebirth of Torah Judaism in Germany, and the vital role that the Rabbinerseminar is playing in that miracle.”

The Rabbinerseminar zu Berlin was originally founded in 1873 by Harav Azriel Hildesheimer zt”l, and served as the premier source for German rabbinic leadership until the Nazis shut it down in 1938.

In 2009, the Rabbinerseminar was reopened by two descendants of Rav Hildesheimer, with the enthusiastic support of Jewish leaders across the world. The Rabbinerseminar is once again at the core of the renaissance of German Jewry, featuring a comprehensive four year program that prepares the yungerleit for a full spectrum of halachic and communal leadership capabilities. Rabbiner Aminov and Rabbiner Pertsovski are the third group to receive semicha since Rabbinerseminar reopened, and there are several other yungerleit in the program.

Rabbi Zwiebel noted that historical documents prove that the Nazis most feared the continuation of Orthodox Jewry and its rabbinate. He quoted the words of Rabbi Moshe Sherer z”l, late president of Agudath Israel of America: “They saw in the Orthodox the source of spiritual regeneration that would make ‘The Final Solution’ decidedly unfinal.”

Other dignitaries at the event were Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress; Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbonim and Chief Rabbi of Moscow; Dr. Josef Schuster, Vice President of Zentralrats der Juden in Deutchland; Christian Schuchardt, Mayor of Wurzberg; Georg Eisenreich, Bavarian State Minister of Education and Culture, Science and Art and Rabbi Avichai Apel, Chief Rabbi of Germany.

Rabbi Joshua Spinner, Director of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in Eastern Europe and founder of the Rabbinerseminar commented that Rabbi Zwiebel’s personal participation and warm words delivered a powerful message: “It was a tremendous chizuk for the new rabbanim, who were homegrown in Germany, to see that the American chareidi community is there for them.”

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(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


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