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Founders of Ezras Torah


Leading Torah Luminaries of the Past Century who urged the American Rabbinate to create Ezras Torah

The Chofetz Chaim
Rav Yisroel Meir Kagan      
Rav Chaim
Ozer Grodzinsky
   
Founding Executive Director
Rav Yosef
Eliyahu Henkin     
 
Honorary President
Rav Moshe Feinstein     
 

Previous Presidents of Ezras Torah
Rav Israel Rosenberg
1915-1955
Rav Naftali Riff
1958-1976
Rav Dovid Lifshitz
1977-1993

The year was 1915 (Jewish Year 5676). Europe was in the violent throes of World War I. Hunger and disease, poverty and despair besieged European Jewry. The Chofetz Chaim, Rav Yisrael Meir HaKohen, may the mention of the righteous person's name bring for us a blessing - ZT"L, and Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky, ZT"L, turned to the Agudas HaRabbonim of America with an urgent plea: "Please do something to aid the starving, impoverished Jews of Europe". The immediate response was the formation of an organization called the Torah Relief Society, or by its more popular Hebrew name, Ezras Torah. Funds and food were sent overseas, many lives were saved, much misery was alleviated.

Later in 1926 one of the greatest European Torah scholars came to America. His name was Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin, ZT"L. For the next 50 years Rav Henkin with unprecedented self-sacrifice guided and directed Ezras Torah, his name becoming synonymous with the organization itself. Ezras Torah became known in the Jewish world as the organization that stood for Tzedakah (Charity) and Chesed (Kindness) according to the highest Torah standards. In fact, Ezras Torah was referred to by the great Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer, ZT"L, as the "Holy of Holies of Tzedakahs".

Through the nightmare years of the Holocaust, Ezras Torah was again the rescue agent, helping thousands of families escape to freedom. As refugees poured onto the shores of America, Ezras Torah was there to help them rebuild their broken lives. Then later in 1951, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel beseeched Rav Henkin to expand the operations of Ezras Torah in the Holy Land. In response, Ezras Torah in co-operation with the Israeli government built 6 housing projects spanning Jerusalem, Bnei Brak and the Negev.

Today over 95% of Ezras Torah's operations and programs are directed to Israel under the devoted leadership of Rav Emanuel Gettinger, Shlitah, of New York. Just under 1000 families have established Endowment Funds with Ezras Torah to date. As well, Ezras Torah raises nearly 1.3 million dollars a year through it's Direct Mail Campaigns, Parlor Meetings, Breakfasts, and Regional Dinners. Ezras Torah prides itself on being able to distribute a record of almost 85% of its funds per year to it's intended causes. Ezras Torah is currently expanding its Emergency Medical Assistance (Keren Refuah) Program in order to provide for the ever increasing medical costs of the poor. Ezras Torah has been servicing the Jewish People for over 85 years.

In order for it to continue and expand its services it must expand its budget, with G-d's help, at all costs. To achieve this Ezras Torah needs your help. Please join with the many thousands of dear and cherished contributors who enable Ezras Torah to help and may G-d respond with unlimited blessings of health, happiness and success to you and yours in kind. Click here to offer your support.

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