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R' Shraga Feivel Mendlowi z"l itz (18 886 3 Elul 57 (1948) 708


Rav Shraga Feiv Mendlowi ztl was b v vel itz born in the tow of Willig i wn in Hu ungary in 1886 to a family of Sanzer cha 6 assidim. From a young age he m e, was known as a Talmid chach ham who was very excited about Torah He s d h. ifferent kinds of sefarim gemara, hala acha, mussar, learned many di ma achshava. He got semicha f from three ge edolim of Hun ngary. Even s still, he insisted on be eing called M Mendlowit in America The Poneve Mr. tz a. ezher Rav hinted at ho great Reb Shraga Feiva was by sayi that his na v ow al ing ame was not Mister Mendlowitz b "Nistar (th Hidden) M M but he Mendlowitz." Fro a young ag Reb Shrag Feivel wan om ge, ga nted to save K Yisrael a Klal and tho ought how he could do so. He got marrie at 22 and i 1913, when he ed in n was 27, em migrated to th United Sta he ates, leaving his family in H h Hungary for 7 years. He h to leave had suddenly to escape the Hungarian ar rmy but chose to come to A e America beca ause he wante to bring To ed orah to spiritua desert here before movin to the land he loved, Isr al ng d rael. There we over 5 million Jews in the ere United States but no Je ewish schools Children we to public s s. ent school and stu udied Torah i the afterno in oon after a lon day of scho ng ool. During his first few years in Americ Reb Shrag Feivel taug in Talmud Torahs in sm towns. H ca, ga ght d mall He dreamed of starting a full day Jewish school. Peo laughed a him. They said that he w not living in o f ople at was g the 20th century. He re c eplied told the You are right.Iama manofthe 2 em, 21st century. Heleftteach hing andcame etoNew York and began an ice cream business to pa for his idea k a b ay a. Once in New York, Re Shraga Feiv started a newspaper wi Chazzan Y N eb vel n ith Yossele Rosen nblatt called The Jewish Light (Dos Yidd dishe Licht) to teach Ame erican Jews ab bout the impo ortants of kee eping kosher a and Mitzvos. The paper fai and Reb Shraga Feivel and Chazzan Rosenblatt lost all their m T iled S l n money. In 1921, Reb Shrag a Feivel was con R F nvinced to be a rebbi for th 8th grade T e he Talmud Torah of Yeshiva T h Torah Vodaath. He was soon asked to beco principal of the schoo When he w principal, he insisted th ome ol. was , hat those who gave money to the school, the board, begin to learn Torah at lea twice a week. As a princ o y b n ast cipal, he taught his students to love Torah Soon, studen began to f t h. nts flock to Torah Vodaas. h Reb Shrag Feivel care about all his talmidims needs. He sta ga ed h s arted a sleep away camp so his students s could spen the summe in a proper environment There was o nd er r t. once a young refugee from World War II g m who came from a weal e lthy family in Europe who came to Ame n erica penniles He would find a dolla in ss. ar his jacket every week. Reb Shraga Feivel also rea F alized he didn like eating in the yeshiv lunch room He nt g va m. o lmid Chacham to a restaur m rant every day to help him. In this way, the y . asked the young man to escort a Tal y a b told his son th "A real re hat ebbi loves his young boy would eat and wouldnt be embarrassed. He once t talmidim as much as hi children. is Reb Shrag Feivel was not satisfied with the elem ga s d mentary schoo he was run ol nning. He didn want to lo his nt ose graduating eighth grade to public sc g chool. He arra anged for the boys to go to public schoo at night and o ol d learn Tora in the morn ah ning. He conv vinced them to continue le t earning after h high school an began to m nd mold talmidei chachamim. In 1927, Reb Shraga Feivel then asked h board to op up a high school that c n S l his pen h taught bot Jewish and secular studi His board felt it was to big of a job Opening a day school w a th d ies. d oo b. was radical ide Other yesh schools had only after ea. hiva h rnoon Torah classes for hi school stu igh udents. Reb Shraga Fe eivel knew tha for Americ Jewry to grow it neede d Torah educ at can g cation first before secular studies in a yeshiva, no in a public school. ot

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Reb Shraga Feivels goal was not to make a big yeshiva for himself. His goal was to spread Torah in America. In 1938, a competing school, Mesivta Chaim Berlin began a high school in a different section of Brooklyn. Reb Shraga Feivel wouldnt accept students from that section of Brooklyn and even told the donors from that area to support the new school instead. His Roshei Yeshivah and board of directors asked him to stop sending his best students away from Torah Vodaath. Reb Shraga Feivel replied, "My purpose is to produce soldiers for the A-mighty. What do I care whether they are deployed to the East or the West? When Telz Yeshiva opened in America, Reb Shraga Feivel again sent students to that yeshiva and encouraged some other donors to support that institution. In 1941, Rav Aharon Kotler came to America and told Reb Shraga Feivel that he wanted to recreate his yeshiva from Kletsk. Reb Shraga Feivel chose ten of his best talmidim including Rav Elya Svei ztl, Rosh Yeshiva of Philadelphia and sent them to Rav Aharons new yeshiva. He knew that Rav Aharon Kotler needed the best bochurim to accomplish his goal. He only kept two talmidim, Rav Simcha Schustal ztland Rav Don Ungarishcer ztl for whom he founded the Bais Medrash Elyon in Monsey. The Beis Medrash Elyon was the first kollel of its kind in America. These two talmidim later became Roshei Yeshiva themselves. Reb Shraga Feivel also sent money to Ner Israel to help it grow and to Israel to build the city of Bnei Brak. Reb Shraga Feivel was not yet satisfied. He called a meeting of Rabbanim and told them that every Jewish community needs to have a Jewish school. He convinced Baal Habatim to support his plan. Together, in 1944, they all founded Torah UMesorah. Reb Shraga Feivel taught his talmidim that they needed to teach Torah. He would ask them what have you done for Klal Yisrael? Under the direction of Torah UMesorah, his talmidim went all over the country to open schools. Within only ten years, 180 day schools were opened in America. Rav Shraga Feivel became sick in 1948. He asked his son in-law, Rabbi Alexander Linchner, to do something for Eretz Yisrael. This son-in-law founded Boys Town Jerusalem which helped poor immigrant children coming to Israel become successful. After he died, Reb Shraga Feivel was buried in Long Island. His body was then moved to Bnei Brak as he requested. Rav Eliyahu Dessler ztl, in his will, asked to be buried next to Rav Shraga Feivel. Rav Moshe said about Reb Shraga Feivel Were it not for him, there would be no Torah study and no Fear of Heaven at all in America. Rav Moshe also said that Reb Shraga Feivel was "the father of all [American]bnei Torah in this generation and in all the generations to come." The Satmar Rebbe said about him, "Reb Shraga Feivel planted the first seed of Torah in America, and from that seed grew everything that followed."3