On the 17th of Nissan, Chol haMoed Pesach, 5767, the foundation stone of the shul belonging to the flourishing K'hal Adas Yeshurun kehilla was laid in Jerusalem. Roshei yeshiva, morei hora'ah, rabbonim, public figures, members and friends of the kehilla gathered in the place designated by the Municipality of Yerushalayim for a magnificent and spectacular beis knesses. For it is here in Yerushalayim that the Ashkenaz traditions of old are being preserved and restored.
Seven years ago, the shul was established under the auspices of Machon Moreshes Ashkenaz, headed by HaRav Binyomin Shlomo Hamburger, shlita. Some of the community members were born into the Ashkenaz kehillos of Germany, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands while others are native Israelis.
Nobel laureate Prof. Yisrael Aumann unveiled a drawing of the shul building-to-be. The design evokes an architectural comparison to the original Friedberger Anlage K’hal Adas Jeschurun building in Frankfurt. HaRav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch ztz"l, and later his son-in-law HaRav Shlomo Zalman Breuer ztz"l led that kehilla. The Frankfurt shul met its fiery end at the hands of the Nazis, ym’sh, on Kristallnacht 1938.
The dais (photo above) was graced by renowned rabbonim who delivered divrei bracha to the kehilla, among them HaGaon HaRav Neiman shlita, rav of the Ramot neighborhood; HaRav Uri Lupoliansky shlita, mayor of Yerushalayim; HaGaon HaRav Binyomin Riemer shlita, son-in-law of Maran HaGaon HaRav Shalom Yosef Elyashiv shlita, who has accompanied the kehilla from its inception; HaGaon HaRav Moshe Yehudah Schlesinger shlita, rosh yeshiva of Kol Torah, and Frankfurt-born; and HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Yaakov Borenstein shlita, rosh yeshiva of Kiryas Melech. Prof. Aumann also addressed the audience. R. Moshe Rosenwasser, a New York banker who also owns a house in Ramot, said when he first heard there was a Yekkish Shul in Ramot he did not believe it, due to the complexity of minhogim and melodies. When he came, he was completely surprised and it reminds him a lot of K’hal Adas Jeshurun of Washington Heights, NY. Eventually he bought a house in Ramot because of the shul.
During the proceedings, a surprise announcement was made that Prof. Moshe (Gerald) Friedman would be donating a most generous sum towards the building of the shul; a gesture that considerably moved everyone present.
HaRav Binyomin Shlomo Hamburger shlita closed with a description of how almost two decades ago he set up the first minyan run according to Minhag Ashkenaz haMuvhak at the Mayenei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak, and how, since then, he has accompanied the establishing of other Ashkenaz minyonim in Bnei Brak, Yerushalayim, Kiryat Sefer, Beitar, and other locations. He quoted various poskim on the importance of Ashkenaz heritage and emphasized the fact that K'hal Adas Yeshurun in Yerushalayim will be built, not only in one of the highest places in the city, but also towering above private dwellings, as specified by Chazal. He praised the gabbaim, HaRav Michael Friedman and HaRav Yeshayahu Schneller, and wished them success in their efforts to preserve Moreshes Ashkenaz.
The shul choir, which had sung Ma Tovu, Tov Lehodos, and Tzadik Katamar during the evening, then performed Shir Hama'alos Ashrei Kol Y'rei Hashem as it was customarily sung in the Frankfurt shul.
Long after the proceedings had drawn to a close, many participants lingered, sharing memories of kehillos hakodesh in the lands of Ashkenaz and expressing their desire to help keep alive this heritage rooted in days of old.
Dedication opportunities on the building are still available. Copies of the K’hal Adas Yeshurun choir’s debut cd “L’dor v’dor: Mazal tov!” of traditional Ashkenaz wedding music are available in exchange for your donation. For information, please contact:
K’hal Adas Yeshurun—Jerusalem +972-2-571-5824 (leave message)