1. Cornerstone-laying Ceremony
The song Boruch HaBo greeted hundreds of visitors at the cornerstone-laying ceremony of the K'hal Adas Yeshurun shul in the Ramot neighborhood of Yerushalayim. Sung to a special ancient tune, the music was performed by the shul choir, consisting of both adults and children.
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. Hundreds of people, roshei yeshiva, morei hora'a, rabbonim, and public figures gathered in the place designated by the Municipality of Yerushalayim for the kehilla. For it is here in Yerushalayim that the Ashkenaz traditions of old are being restored. Many community members daven regularly in the shul; some of them were born into the Ashkenaz kehillos of Germany, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
The shul, which began functioning seven years ago in a bomb shelter, and which was established under the auspices of Machon Moreshes Ashkenaz, at whose head stands HaRav Binyomin Shlomo Hamburger shlita, has acquired an honorable name for itself among the other shuls set up by him in chareidi centers, both in Eretz Yisrael and in Chutz laAretz. The Municipality of Yerushalayim authorized a site for the
building of the shul K'hal Adas Yeshurun, and work is about to begin on building a magnificent and spectacular beis knesses.
Hundreds of participants, community members, friends, and neighborhood residents, shared a unique spiritual experience at the opening of the ceremony, upon hearing those pesukim set to a tune commonly sung in kehillos Ashkenaz on special occasions. HaGaon HaRav Yisrael Gans shlita, opened with words of thanks to HaKadosh Baruch Hu and emotionally expressed satisfaction that K'hal Adas Yeshurun is
flourishing. He emphasized the uniqueness of the kehilla, which is preserving Minhag Frankfurt-am-Main, and recalled his grandfather, who was a gabbi in the Frankfurt shul. HaRav shlita wished the members of
the kehilla great success.
Following, the foundation scroll of the shul was proclaimed, exhorting its members to preserve the heritage of their ancestors, Minhagei Ashkenaz. The scroll was laid in the ground while rabbonim and public figures placed over it the foundation stone of the shul. At this point in the ceremony, the choir burst into song, using the words from Hallel, "Even ma'asu habonim, hay'sah l'rosh pina." Those present were extremely moved. During the rendition, a drawing of the shul building was unveiled by Prof. Yisrael Aumann. Those sharper-eyed participants noted the great similarity between the future Ramot shul
and the original one in Frankfurt, belonging to the kehilla of HaRav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch ztz"l, subsequently led by his son-in-law HaRav Shlomo Zalman Breuer ztz"l, a shul which was destroyed by the Nazis y"sh on Kristallnacht.
The dais was graced by renowned rabbonim, among them HaGaon HaRav Neiman shlita, rav of the Ramot neighborhood; HaRav Uri Lupoliansky shlita, mayor of Yerushalayim; HaGaon HaRav Binyomin Rimmer 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. Nobel Prize winner Prof. Aumann also addressed the audience. All delivered divrei bracha to the kehilla.
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 which 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 minyanim 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.
2. Mazal Tov
Mazal Tov to Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Weil on the birth of their daughter!