Monday, January 07, 2008

Barukh Dayyan ha-Emet: Rabbi Dr. Isaiah Wohlgemuth זצ"ל

It was with deep sadness that I heard today of the passing of my teacher, Rabbi Dr. Isaiah Wohlgemuth זצ"ל. Rav Wohlgemuth, the last rabbi of the German town of Kitzingen, came to the United States after Kristallnicht (and a stay in Dachau). Students at the Maimonides School remember him as a beloved Talmud teacher (and earlier, Latin teacher) and as the person who was personally charged by Rav Soloveitchik זצ"ל with teaching the interpretation of the prayer book, ביאורי התפילה (aka BH), the summary of hich is in the precious volume pictured above.
Rabbi Wohlgemuth teaching of Torah was not confined to Maimonides. Every Shabbos afternoon, he offered an informal Gemora shiur for public school kids in his home. Then, in the Summer, he taught Talmud in the Prozdor of Hebrew Teacher's College (aka Hebrew College), where I had the zekhus to study with him for two seasons. He was the person who set my mind and heart on fire with enthusiasm for Gemora study. In his gentle, loving way he eased me into the world of learning. It was he who approached the Rov on my behalf, for permission to attend his Summer shiurim in Boston. For these alone, my debt to him is incalculable.
Yet, I am certain that I will most remember him for the gentle, warm nobility and caring that shone forth from his smile.
חבל על דאבדין ולא משתכחין!
יהי נפשו צרורה בצרור החיים ותהי מנוחתו כבוד.


shueyr said...

Is he the last surviving graduate of the Hildeshmeir Academy?

Whom did he study under?

uri said...

baruch dayyan emet - and so inspiring to read of your appreciation and hakarat hatov

amy levenson said...

Your beautiful description of his "
gentle, warm nobility" perfectly captures his essence. I have been trying to find the words, and have failed, but that is it.

Having him and his wife Z"L berta as my teachers was one of the great blessings of my life.