Bedarchei HaTorah No. 41 BDARCHEI_HATORAH_FALL_2018 - Page 26

TRIBUTE Nechemia Rabenstein vÆg A Builder and a Beacon When Nechemia Rabenstein emerged from the inferno of World War II, he was an sut atn kmun, “a firebrand saved from a fire.” (Zecharia 3:2) Unlike countless relatives, neighbors and friends, Nechemia was spared. Yet he was determined to do more than sur- vive. He set out to build. And build he did. Together with his wife, Frida a”h, he built a magnificent family. They were privileged to see children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren follow in their foot- steps. Nechemia and Frida Rabenstein built relationships, forging new friendships in a new world that went beyond the transaction- al: They were friends who could be counted on, whose words were gold, and who cared for their fellow Jew regardless of social status. Investing in mosdos of tzedaka and Torah, they did their part to build the renaissance of our people on American shores, a rebirth that we sometimes take for granted. The Rabensteins’ greatest legacy may be the Rabenstein Learning Center at Yeshiva Darchei Torah. In a period before it was de rigeur, they recognized the importance of in- clusion in the yeshiva educational system and embraced with alacrity the cause of children with learning challenges. In the decades since its founding, the Rabenstein Learning Center has saved hundreds of children from failure and despair, ensuring that they would have an equal opportunity to grow and thrive – academically, socially, and spiritually. The Rabenstein Learning Center is a crown jewel of Yeshiva Darchei Torah, and it is an inter- national model for schools that seek to reach every child. One day, as Reb Nechemia stood on the terrace of the newly-constructed building that bears his name, he was visibly moved as he observed the hundreds of boys below, play- 24 BEDARCHEI HATORAH FALL 5779/2018 ing, heading to the next class, interacting with their teachers. He saw the scene, and all that it represented, as the fulfillment of his life’s mis- sion, the ultimate victory against the Nazis. How many individuals’ lives were forever altered thanks to Nechemia and Frida’s be- nevolence? How many families today are led by graduates of the schools and programs that bear the imprint of their pioneering spirit? They are the Rabensteins’ eternal legacy. And it is a legacy that is alive and vibrant - because out of the ashes of the Holocaust, these ‘fire- brands’ from Hungary developed the embers of their souls into a steadily growing flame, a beacon that continues to burn bright and il- luminate the world of Torah Jewry. ! NECHEMIA RABENSTEIN, THE PATRON OF THE RABENSTEIN LEARNING CENTER AT YESHIVA DARCHEI TORAH