Mr. Peter Rebenwurzel grew up in Vienna, Austria, and due to the absence of any local yeshivah gedolah, he attended Gateshead mechinah from the age of 14 until 16. At that juncture, he transferred to Yeshiva Torah Vodaath in the United States, where he completed his high school education, and then joined the beis medrash for several years, completing Yoreh De’ah and receiving his bachelor’s degree as well.
Today, Peti, as he is known to his family and friends, runs a successful real estate business in Brooklyn, and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the yeshivah. He is proud that six of his grandchildren attend the yeshivah at this time.
In 1973, when I was finishing my degree, the yeshivah moved its elementary division from Williamsburg to Kensington. They needed a teacher for the eighth grade, and after some negotiations, I was hired to teach all four periods for one grade: Math, Science, American History and English Language Arts. Math and Science were easy enough for me. Even American History, which I never learned as a child, was not too difficult; I just made sure to stay 10 pages ahead of the class. But as a foreigner, teaching ELA was a challenge.
For the five years that I was in the dormitory, the yeshivah was not just the place where I was educated and spent my day; it was my home 24/6. On Shabbosos, they arranged for me to eat in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Baruch and Barbara Handler in Boro Park, and they were very kind to me. When it rained, I ate at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Yitzchok and Naomi Shteierman who lived in the neighborhood. I have very fond memories of the people who cared for me during my stay in Torah Vodaath.
It’s interesting that during my stay in the dorm, I got to know the Goldsteins from Detroit. Thirty-five years ago, when I joined the board of directors, I renewed my relationship with them, as Rabbi Shmuel Goldstein serves as Menahel of the yeshivah ketanah, and Rabbi Simcha Goldstein is a Rebbi.
Today, I have six einiklach learning in Torah Vodaath: three Haas grandchildren, children of Mr. and Mrs. Moshe and Yechida Haas, and three Gabay grandchildren, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Eli and Dina Gabay. We are thrilled with the combination of chinuch and education they are receiving.
My wish is that the yeshivah should continue providing this wonderful blend of chinuch and education which I received when I attended Yeshiva Torah Vodaath nearly half a century ago.