By Rabbi Yisroel Rubin, Albany, NY
As a young boy, I was embarrassed by the small size of my father’s Talmud. My friends’ living rooms were graced with grand impressive royal maroon/gold Talmud sets, my fathers’ siddur-sized black books had tissue-thin pages.
But the intriguing Chinese characters on the front pages revealed the secret of these unique sefarim: they were printed during World War II, in China of all places!
Researching old documents with other Shanghai “Alumni,” we are discovering the amazing Shanghai journey that has impacted Jewish life all over the world.
My father’s Yeshiva escaped Hitler’s Holocaust from Poland through Vilna and Kovna, Lithuania, crossed Siberia to Vladivostok, sailed the Sea of Japan to Kobe, and landed in Shanghai, China after Pearl Harbor. Without the Shanghai haven, many of us would not be alive, or Jewish, today.
Help share these vital memories with future generations, and highlight the overlooked and almost forgotten dynamic Lubavitch role in the Shanghai Experience.
This glimmer of hope, salvation and endurance during the terrible darkness mustinspire and shine into the hearts and minds of our sons and daughters.
Key video figures will include Montreal Chief Harav Hirshprung, Rav Blau of Mir, Shanghai’s Rav Ashkenazi, Torah Vodaas Rosh Yeshiva Ruvain Fine’s letter to the Rebbe, Dr. Avraham Seligson, and the legendary Japanese Ambassador Chiune Sugihara, Zachur Latov.
Lubavitch descendants of the original Shanghai Lubavitch Yeshiva, include Yosef Borenstein, Pinchas Blatt, Mottel Bryski, Shia Bronstein, Chaim Meir Bukiet, Gershon and Yisroel Chanowitz, Chatzkel Deren, Moshe Feder, Hirshel Fuchs, Avrohom Garfinkel, Moshe Elye Gerlitzky, Shimon Goldman, Zev Volf Greenglass, Yitzchak Hendel, Shlomo Hochler, Hirshel Kotlarsky, Leibel Kramer, Avrohom Tzvi Landa, Elye Moshe Liss, Mottel Lurie, Nochum Prager, Yosef Portowitz, Shmuel Dovid Raichik, Yosef Rodal, Yisroel Rosenberg, Moshe and Hershel Rubin, Moshe Chaim Sapochkinsky, Mendel Tennenbaum, Shmuel Stein and Yosef Weinberg.
This fundraising campaign is being launched in honor of my father, Reb Moshe’s 18th Yartzeit this week. We ask all friends/family members of Shanghai survivors to help enable this production. Please share photos, documents and input by emailing: [email protected], or call 518 423 4103.
Appealing to all ages, this educational documentary will be shown in schools, mesivtas, yeshivas, and seminaries. Contributors of $36 to $360 will receive a DVD; larger contributions will be noted accordingly. Please contribute here.