A First-Grade Teacher’s Warmth


Thank you for Jonathan Mark’s wonderful article about Rabbi Baruch Pollack (“A Teacher’s Magic,” May 27).

In 1953, I was a scared/excited first grader at the Lubavitcher Yeshiva in the Bronx, with Rabbi Pollack as my rebbe. Even after almost 60 years, I remember him well for the kindness warmth he exhibited to us, his young (and first) students, as well as for the love he so clearly had for all of us. He knew that essentially all of us were the hopeful first children of Holocaust survivors who remained steadfast in their faith.

With an ever-present Chesterfield cigarette in his hand, he introduced us to the beauty of Yiddishkeit, and was able to transfer his passion for it to us.

Today, most of us who were his earliest talmidim (students) remain observant and involved in Jewish life and Jewish community. Many of us have gone on to substantial accomplishments in rabbinics and the various professions. It was because Rabbi Pollack not only gave us a strong Torah and Hebrew grounding, but also because he was able to give over to us his love for us and his passion for Yiddishkeit that we accomplished Jewishly as much as we did.

Thank you, Rabbi Pollack. You did well. Very well, indeed.