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My father, Rabbi Dr. Haim Baruch Friedman 1900 - 1985
My father was born in the year 1900 in Sadegora, Bukovina (then part of
the Austro Hungarian Empire).
His father was the Admor (acronym for Adoneinu Morenu - our Master
and teacher) of Sadegora, Shalom Joseph ben Israel, and his mother was
Sheindl, the daughter of the Admor of Viz'nitz.
He was thus a direct descendant of the "Dynasty" of the Rij'in
The father of the "Dynasty" was Rabbi Dov Baer from Mezeritsh (1704 - 1776).
Dov Baer was the disciple of the founder of the Hassidic movement, the Ba'al
Shem Tov, Israel ben Eliezer (1698 - 1760).
The great grandson of the "Mezeritsh" - Rabbi Israel m'Rij'in (1796 - 1850), moved to Sadegora
where he established a Hassidic "court" and with the blessing of the authorities
aquired an estate where he built the Synagogue and family mansion of the
Rabbi Israel Friedman m'Rij'in was recognized by the highest Rabbinical
authorities of his time as a great leader and one of the "Tzadikim" (saintly men)
of his generation. After he passed away, his son, Rabbi Abraham Jaakov m'Sadegora
carried on the Dynasty. At his initiative, the building of the famous
"Tiferet Israel" Synagogue in Jerusalem was completed (colloqially called
"Nissan Bek" by the name of the contractor who completed the work).
After him his son, Rabbi Shalom Joseph became the Admor of Sadegora
and Tshernowitz. He was my grandfather - father of my father Haim Baruch Friedman.
My father never attended school, but like nobility in those days,
he learned at home up to his Matriculation Exams with private tutors only.
The Synagogue of the Admor
of Sadegora at the
beginning of the 20th century
The Mansion of the Admor
His sister Hava
The Rabbanit Sheindl
This was also the end of WW1 and with it a profound change in social and
political structures in all of Europe, but very much so in what had been
the Austro Hungarian Empire, and was now broken up into a large number of
larger and smaller Nation states. My father's parents decided to send him
to the Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin.
To quote from motlc.wiesenthal.com :
"This Rabbinical Seminary for Orthodox Judaism was founded in 1873 in Berlin,
by Azriel Hildesheimer. It aimed to combine loyalty to Judaism with an
awareness of modern culture. For seven decades it produced rabbinic and
lay leaders whose influence was felt in many Jewish communities.
It was closed in 1938. "
In fact this very much sums up the spiritual legacy of my father.
The absolute loyalty to Jewish cultural and religious values, combined
with an unusual openness and acceptance of humanistic ones was the
cornerstone of his personal life and his teaching.
After his ordination he went on to Bonn University where he received
a phil. Dr. degree, cum laude.
My father got a teaching appointment in Chemnitz, Germany.
At the same time he acted as a "Madrich" (Youth leader) of a Zionist
religious youth movement. There he met a girl, 9 years his junior,
Leah Yolantha Hirschler. He fell in love with her, and despite her being
the daughter of Rabbi Yehuda Hirschler, a Rabbi in the "Misnagdim" (the
fierce opponents in Judaism to Hassidic teaching and even practices)
and a descendant of Rabbi Yehuda Aszad, one of the leaders of this movement
they got married in the year 1931, in fact maybe the first marriage
between a descendent of a Hassidic Rebbe and that of a Misnaged Rabbi.
I was born a year later
click here for magnification of the images
My parents Betrothal
Saying Goodbye to Grandma
on the way to Palestine
My father and mother were determined to make "Aliya", my father went to
"Hakhshara" (Agriculural training center prior to departing for Palestine)
"Geringshof" near Fulda in Germany, one of 39 such centers established
in the 1930's.
In 1934 we came to Palestine, and at first joined a religious "Gar'in"
(a group getting organized to form or join a Kibbutz) called "Rodges" the
members of which went on to form Kvutzat Yavne. Out of Rodges the Kibbutz
Hadati, the religious Kibbutz movement was born, but this is another story.
After only a year, my father moved to Safed, where he became teacher in an
elementary school. In Safed, in 1936 my sister Yedida was born, and we moved
to Bat-Yam where my father became Headmaster of the "Tachkemoni" religious
click here for magnification of the images
Safed, on Har Cna'an
Safed, near the home
The home in Bat Yam
From the year 1942 and until the end of the war of independance, we lived in
Jerusalem. My father was the Headmaster of the "Ma'ale" highschool. During all
these years my father was a member of the Hagana, and all of us passed the war
of independance in quite an active manners.
At the end of 1948 we moved to Haifa. My father received an appointment as
Schools Supervisor at the Department of Education. This position he held until
the age of 73. He then received an appointment as Lecturer of Talmud studies
at Haifa University.
In our neighborhood, the Western Carmel quarter of Haifa, there was no synagogue.
My father with some of his friends and neighbours took the initiative and started
a synagogue in a disused British Army barack. He was the voluntary Rabbi of this community until his death
at the age of 85.
After the end of WW2 many Jewish Survivors arived in Palestine (later Israel).
It then became evident that my father's mother, brother and sister were murdered
in the Shoa. One of those who did survive was his cousin, Baruch Hager, a
nephew of his mother. He did manage to come to Israel. Baruch's brother, was already
Admor of the Wiz'nitz community in Bne Brak. The Wizwnitz community
in Haifa asked Rabbi Baruch Hager to be their Admor. Thus the
Wizwnitz - Seret Hassidic community in Haifa was founded. When Rabbi Baruch passed
away a problem arose. The eldest son of Baruch, Eliezer, intended to study
engineering at the Technion in Haifa. He was torn between his desire for personal
fulfillment and the request of the community to become their Admor.
As many relatives and friends, he came to my father for advice. My father did not
tell him what to do, he only explained to him what might happen to the community
if he gave in to his instinct and refused them. It might mean the end of the
community in Haifa. Eliezer decided to choose the welfare of the community
over his own desires, and helped to get the Wiz'nitz community in Haifa to thrive.
He is until this day the Admor of the community.
The reason I am relating this incident, one of many others, is to demonstrate
how my father in his quiet, unassuming but effective way helped many people
with his advice.
My father had many pupils and many appreciated his vast secular and religious
knowledge and helpful manner. He was asked to give a "Drasha" (Homily) from
his great knowledge of the Sages, for each Bar Mizva in the community.
My father at my wedding in Jerusalem
with Chief Rabbi Herzog who officiated
at the wedding, and other Rabbis.
Until the end of his days he used to study a daily "Daf Gmara" (a page from the Talmud).
Unfortunately he hardly ever wrote out his teachings, but rather gave his
lectures from memory, with only precursory notes. For this reason we have
practically no written record of his teachings.
We shall include transcripts of some articles written in his honour for his
80th birthday, and some eulogies after his passing away.