May 22, 2024
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A Tribute to My Father, Joseph Rosenzweig, z’’l

It has been 51 years since my father, Joseph Rosenzweig, z”l, left this earth in June of 1972 (the 30th of Sivan 5732). Rabbi Alexander Linchner, from Boys Town Jerusalem and Torah Vodaath Brooklyn, said he was “one in a generation” who lived to give tzedakah. My father loved Israel and had hoped to live there in his old age; my parents bought an apartment in Jerusalem, but my father got pancreatic cancer and they sold it. He is buried in Har Hamenuchot, next to all the great rabbis, and he deserved this honor.

During World War II, he was involved with the Vaad Hatzalah. He was their chairman. They bought lives from the Germans and paid $400 a child to smuggle them out at the camps. He gave $10,000 in 1942—adjusted for inflation, this is $180,000—which he said later was not enough money. He felt he could have done more. And, in the 1950s, he was responsible for creating the well-known linear translation of Rashi word for word—these books were called the blue book and were studied in every yeshiva and day school all over the world. He built many mikvahs and started many yeshivas, and he also started the Hebrew Academy in Miami, Florida. I had occasion to visit a small Jewish museum in South Florida and saw his name on a plaque among the first donors.

When there was an arms embargo to Israel, he stood on the pier with a plaque in the dead of winter to attract the media. He was truly devoted to so many Jewish causes, especially in education, such as Chaim Berlin and Torah Vodaath. He started Torah Vodaath Camps for underprivileged kids who couldn’t afford sleepaway camp. I could go on and on, but I didn’t even know how many people he helped.

The Encyclopedia Judaica wanted to write him up, but he was so modest he didn’t want notoriety. His character was pure and he is someone to emulate. Even though he has been gone for too many years, he is not forgotten. May other people learn from his selflessness and go out of their comfort zones to help humanity!

Carole Rosenzweig Nussbaum Appleton
Fort Lee
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