by Dovid Tanner (’18)


This past Thursday, December 24th, Rabbi Kerner’s 10th grade shiur was privileged to visit Manhattan’s Lower East Side. First, we made our way to the famous old Bialystoker Synagogue, named after the city in Poland its founders originally hailed from. Rabbi Zvi Romm, a Rebbe at YU, is now the Rav of the shul and he shared with us some information about the shul’s unique history and its beautiful interior, including an exquisite aron kodesh exactly modeled after the one in the Great Synagogue of Bialystok in Poland (which was set aflame by the Nazis with thousands of Jews inside, sending them all tragically to their deaths).

We also heard about some halachic issues pertaining to the shul, such as “Is it permissible to convert a church into a shul?” (this one was!), and “Is it proper to have the zodiacs depicted in a shul?” (the zodiacs of the Jewish months, and many other things like scenes from Eretz Yisrael, are painstakingly hand painted on the walls and ceiling of the shul!). We then explored the shul on our own.

Afterwards, we headed just a few blocks away to Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim, one of the oldest yeshivos in New York, famously headed by the great gaon Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l. After a brief introduction by an administrator to understand who it was that we were about to meet, we were privileged to ask questions and receive berachos from both Rav Shimon Sugar shlit”a, the over ninety year-old prize talmid (though he is not well known) of Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky, zt”l, who teaches 1st grade at MTJ, and Rav David Feinstein shlit”a, the son of Rav Moshe and now head of the yeshiva. Personally, it inspired so much awe to meet these gedolim that I lost my nerve to ask the all questions I had prepared! After leaving MTJ, we got on the bus to go back to MTA, but not before one more stop: delicious Saba’s Pizza.

The Lower East Side may be have only a remnant of its former glory, but it definitely has enough history and important locations to last us a while!


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