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January 17, 2003 - Image 73

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-01-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Rabbi Freedman is remembered as
going door-to-door convincing pdr-
ents in a largely non-Orthodox
Detroit community to send their
children to the Yeshiva. The rabbi,
who was a major influence in the
establishment of both the school and
Detroit's thriving Orthodox commu-
nity, also was known to drive the
Yeshiva's school bus in the early days.
As a teacher, he often added recre-
ational trips to the school day to
make it more fun.
The Siyum HaTorah dinner will be
highlighted with a talk by Rabbi
Shmuel Kaminetsky, rosh yeshivah
(dean) of Yeshiva of Philadelphia.
"The fact that he will be here to pay
tribute is a mark of distinction,"
Rabbi Grossbard said.
A musical presentation will also be
held in honor of Rabbi Freedman.
"We chose to have the Beth Yehudah
Boys' Choir perform with their direc-
tor Rabbi Yerachmiel Stewart because
of how very, very strongly Rabbi
Freedman felt about using song to
touch people," Rabbi Grossbard said.
"When I first began teaching at the
Yeshiva, he told me I should teach
my. class a new song every Friday. He
said I should teach them the words,
then what the words mean and then
the tune."
A slide show about Rabbi
Freedman, coordinated by Yeshiva
second-grade teacher Rabbi Meir
Kranczer, a former student of Rabbi

Freedman's who worked closely with
him with Jews from the former Soviet
Union, will be shown while the choir
performs.

Saturday Night Honor

A long-standing Saturday evening
Yeshiva learning program, pairing
adults with young students, has been
renamed and expanded in memory
of Rabbi Freedman.
"After Rabbi Freedman died, we
decided to call it Beis Medrosh
Zichron Avrom Abba in his memo-
ry," said Rabbi Mordechai Katz,
director of Pirchei Agudas Yisroel of
Detroit, which oversees the program,
coordinated by Yeshiva teacher
Rabbi Yehudah Kaplan. Attendance
has since doubled.
"Many pairs of fathers and sons —
including me and my son Shalom —
study parts of the Torah 'pledged' for
the siyum," Rabbi Bunny Freedman
said of the program that typically
brings 300-400 people together in
study.
"Rabbi Freedman used to come to
the Saturday night program," said
Rabbi Katz, a fifth-grade teacher at
the Yeshiva. "He would stand in the
back and take it all in. He loved the
program. Sometimes he would bring
people in to see it. Other times he
would sit down with another adult

LEGACY on page 62

The Saturday night learning program named in memory of Rabbi Freedman at
Yeshiva Beth Yehudah.

A Fitting Honor

n a recent trip to
no bounds when it came to
Israel, as on previ-
helping a fellow Jew.
ous journeys, I vis-
Every prayer was timely,
ited the graves of
yet hours and days meant
revered rabbis who had
nothing if not used to
passed on to the next world.
improve the condition of
These visits over many
someone in need of help.
years were inspired by my
Rabbi Freedman lived his
rabbi and teacher, Rabbi
GAR Y
life to serve the Almighty,
Avrohom Abba Freedman,
with little or no regard for
TORG OW
of blessed memory.
his individual standing or
A Perso nal
Rabbi Freedman had
place. Each day was an
Reflect Lion
accompanied me and led
opportunity to build a
me to understand how spir-
stronger and more commit-
itual and important these visits
ted Jewish community
could be.
This Sunday, we will celebrate in his
The recitation of Psalms, heartfelt
memory the communal completion of
prayers and the invoking of gathered
the entire Torah. Hundreds of dedicat-
merits offer spiritual benefit to those
ed participants studied chapters of
left behind in need of aid and comfo rt
Torah, Talmud, Mishnah and Jewish
But what was so starkly different
law, a rare and exemplary effort
about this most recent trip was that
unparalleled in Detroit Jewish history.
instead of Rabbi Freedman by my
All of this emanated from the inspi-
side, I found myself
praying and crying at
his grave — simple
and nondescript — on
that lonely mountain
in our beloved city of
Jerusalem, Rabbi
Avrohom Abbd.s final
resting place.
As my family gath-
ered around his fresh-
ly laid gravesite, so
many thoughts came
to mind. Foremost
— Yeshiva Beth Yehudah Gary Torgow
among them was
incredible gratitude
that we had been privileged to know ration of a selfless, quiet, singularly
such an extraordinary and holy
focused Jew whose entire life was ded-
human being.
icated to the Torah being studied.
Yet the reality of his passing
Rabbi Freedman, during his life-
time, encouraged countless families to
brought about so much regret of
wasted and squandered opportunities.
undertake lives of tradition and schol-
How I yearned for just one more
arship. He would visit, drive, pay and
phone call or Torah study class with
cajole dozens of parents to send their
Rabbi Freedman, another demand
children to Jewish day schools.
on my time or resources, one more
He developed relationships with
reminder to visit a holy Jew or to
the new American community that
included finding jobs, arranging brit
help find a job for a new American
or simply to set aside more time for
?n ib!) (ritual circumcision), solicit-
ing and arranging Jewish marriages
learning and studying.
With Rabbi Freedman, it was a
and all without acclaim, applause or
regular and steady stream of exhor-
any public honor.
tations to do better, be better and
It is, therefore, quite incredible
and very fitting that Rabbi
grow as a Jew.
Freedman's first public honor would
Rabbi Freedman was a pious and
devoted man who lived his life with- occur with him watching, but not
in every Torah constraint, yet knew
attending. El

0

"A11 of this emanated from
the inspiration of a selfless,
quiet, singularly focused
Jew whose entire life was
dedicated to the Torah
being studied."

1/17

2003

61

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