Sep 18, 2006 — Rabbi Harold J. Reichman became the newest member of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary faculty to occupy an endowed chair when he was invested by President Richard M. Joel as the Bronka Weintraub Professor of Talmud on Sunday, Sept. 17, in the Harry Fischel Beit Midrash of Zysman Hall on the Wilf Campus.
President Joel praised Rabbi Reichman, who has taught at RIETS for over 30 years, for “his ability to beautifully convey Torah, to sing Torah, and to make Torah come alive” for his students.
Rabbi Zevulun Charlop, Max and Marion Grill Dean of RIETS, fondly recalled successfully appealing some 34 years ago to Dr. Samuel Belkin, ztz”l, then president of YU and RIETS, for permission to hire the young rabbi, who, at the time, was the assistant to The Rav, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, ztz”l, and an activist sending Jews to settle in Northern Israel.
Julius Berman, RIETS Board chairman, noted that the Bronka Weintraub Chair now held by Rabbi Reichman is the institution’s 24th endowed chair, “which tells the world just how much our roshei yeshiva are at the heart of our yeshiva and especially RIETS.”
In his acceptance remarks, Rabbi Reichman said, “This is a very special occasion for me. I have the chance to thank the people who really made a difference in my life: my late father, who was my first rebbe; my mother, Mrs. Ella Reichman, an outspoken supporter of Israel and leader in Emunah for many years; Rav Soloveitchik, who, for us, is still alive through his teachings; Rav Belkin and Rav Lamm, for giving me the privilege of teaching; President Joel, for his caring and encouragement; and my talmidim (students), who have taught me so much.”
Rabbi Reichman then gave a shiur on the enduring presence, both spiritual and halakhic of the site where the Beit Hamikdash stood, using biblical, Talmudic and rabbinic sources.
He then segued into a discussion on the levels of sanctity and priority importance attributed to the synagogue and beit midrash (study hall) and explained why the beit midrash has a higher degree of sanctity. Rabbi Reichman dedicated his remarks, which were filled with warmth and humor, to the enduring memory of Bronka Weintraub, z”l, whom he called “a devoted daughter of Israel.”
Mrs. Weintraub’s nephew, Carmi Schwartz, was the guest of honor at a luncheon in Weissberg Commons which followed the investiture ceremony. Rabbi Lamm praised Mr. Schwartz who, as executor of Mrs. Weintraub’s estate, arranged for the chair to be endowed in her memory. Mr. Schwartz, a distinguished Jewish communal professional who has been a consultant and lay leader for numerous organizations since his retirement as executive vice president of the Council of Jewish Federations, received an honorary doctoral degree from YU in 1987.
After receiving a symbolic replica of the Weintraub chair, Mr. Schwartz spoke of Mrs. Weintraub’s lifetime of devotion to Israel and Jewish causes. He explained that she grew to love YU and RIETS through her leadership affiliation with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, of which she and her third husband, Jacob Wnone