This Is What Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Pornography Looks Like!
It's Monday, the day after the Atzeres Hatefillah in Yerushalayim, and I am on my way back from Tzefas when my cell phone rings. Reb Shmuel Karelitz, Rav Nissim Karelitz's son, is on the phone. "Now is a good time to come to Bnei Brak," he says. "Rav Chaim will see you to talk about the kollel." I was elated.
Kollel Chazon Ish is one of the most esteemed Torah institutions in the world, and Rav Chaim Kanievsky is one of the world's greatest Torah authorities. So my elation doesn't require any explanation. What better way to counter Israel's most recent attempts to eradicate Torah study than to celebrate its miraculous continuity with a gadol b'Yisrael?
Bnei Brak is a rather difficult place to navigate by car. Small boys and girls tend to dash across the street without bothering to check if any cars are in close proximity, and the other drivers are equally oblivious to your presence. When we arrive safely at Rechov Rashbam, I am more than a little relieved.
The kollel is housed in an imposing dun-colored building several stories high. Maariv is starting in the large beis midrash on the upper floor and I join the mispallelim. After davening Reb Shmuel Karelitz introduces me to Rav Binyamin Shikovitzky, one of the kollel's roshei chaburah. Rav Binyamin joined the kollel after he got married; he is now in his seventies but as fresh and motivated as if he had just arrived. We find a place in the office where we can all sit down comfortably...