True Stories of how Toldos Moshe Dov changed people's lives
Yaakov’s story starts during of the Communist regime in Russia. His grandfather, a sincere, pious, young Jewish man, was interested in becoming a shochet for Kafkaz, his hometown. He therefore went to Mir Yeshiva to learn to be a shochet. After becoming a certified shochet , Yaakov’s grandfather returned to Kafkaz only to find a different world, where everything he had learned was now forbidden to do. But he still hoped to do something for Yiddishkeit — and so he opened a school for Jewish children. Though it had to be on the sly, he hoped to instill some Jewish concepts into his students.
After many years, the Russian authorities suspected him of teaching religion and therefore they imprisoned him. He was tortured and blinded, and only then did the authorities release him, a broken man.
Yaakov’s grandfather continued to keep as much of Yiddishkeit as he could, but, unfortunately, he was not able to pass any religious concepts on to his children. Though he would invite his children on Seder night to participate in eating matzah, no reference could be made to the Haggadah. Thus Yaakov grew up, completely ignorant of his Jewish heritage.
At the age of 17 Yaakov came to Eretz Yisroel. He soon joined the army and lived a life without Torah. When he was 25, he received his first revelation….
It was 6 A.M. Yaakov “happened” to be on a bus when he heard Shma Yisroel for the first time in his life, playing over the bus’s radio. It made a deep impression on him. He soon married, and, through some wonderful manipulation from Above, his wife also wanted to embrace Yiddishkeit and encouraged him to join her in a Seminar run by Arachim [an organization that introduces Jews to the beauty of their heritage]. They already had a child so, though his wife was attending a shiur by Rabbi Grillus, Yaakov, who was watching their baby, needed to go in and call his wife out since the baby needed her.
“While your wife is outside, sit down and take her place,” Rav Grillus called out to him. Yaakov couldn’t refuse, and, in the zechus of wonderful Rav Grillus and, beyond a doubt, in the zechus of his pious grandfather, z”l, the words Yaakov heard from the Rav in the shiur made a deep impression on him: he felt that this Rav could answer all of his questions. Yaakov kept Rav Grillus up until 4:00 in the morning. Upon hearing all of the Rav’s detailed answers, Yaakov was convinced that he had found the truth, and so he resolved to start keeping Torah and mitzvos.
The couple koshered their kitchen, and Yaakov started attending Toldos Moshe Dov Yeshiva to learn more. In time they realized their dream: Yaakov’s wife completed kosher giyur [conversion] together with her little son and their second, unborn child. After the conversion, they headed to our shul Urei Chaim, where she and her husband were married kdas Moshe veYisroel [according to Jewish Law].
Yaakov’s wife is a true Aishes Chayil, and an exemplary mother. Her children are sweet, refined, very respectful, and make a kiddush HaShem wherever they go. Her two young sons, now ages 8 and 11, sit and participate throughout the entire Shabbos davening. Yaakov has become a true Talmid Chacham, and is a member of the elite Kollel of Toldos Moshe Dov, which is geared to a very high level of learning.
“Kein Yirbu BeYisroel.”
Alex, 17, a young oleh from Russia, had no contact with anything religious. The young man’s life revolved entirely around basketball. One day, a billboard near the basketball court advertised a speech by a charismatic Israeli Rabbi, Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak. Intrigued, Alex decided to go with a group of friends. He was very impressed by what he heard and wanted to learn more. Searching for a framework, he found Kollel Toldos Moshe Dov just two blocks from the basketball court. The Kollel members were happy to arrange a chavrusa (study partner) for him.
In just one year, Alex advanced so much in his studies that his rebbe marvelled,”Every Jewish mother hopes and prays to produce such a son!” Today, Alex is a true Gaon in Torah and has built a beautiful home in Klal Yisroel.
Yelena and her husband were invited as guests for Shabbos to the Dinkler family, their frum neighbors. It was Shabbos of Parshas Yisro and Reuven Dinkler outdid himself with a very vivid description of Kabalas Hatorah. He went on telling in great detail about the mountain, the lightening and the thunder. He told them that all Jews were united as with one heart building up feelings of exhilaration in those seated around the table. They could feel Kabolas Hatorah right there. Reuven also told them that all Jews were present even Jews born in later generations.
His words struck Yelena like a physical blow. Although she had always assumed she was Jewish because she had a Jewish father and a Jewish husband, Yelena now realized that when all the Jews had accepted the Torah together, she wasn’t there. Eager to become truly Jewish, She approached Leah, one of the Kollel wives, and asked for help in preparing for conversion. The two women studied together until Yelena was ready. She became Jewish through the Bais Din of Harav Nissim Karelitz shlita.
Today her home is a center of many outreach activities for Russian women.