Beth Medrash Elyon
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Beth Medrash Elyon is a yeshiva in Spring Valley, New York. It was considered one of the elite yeshivas during the 1950s and 1960s. It closed sometime during the 1960s due to disagreements among the leaders of the yeshiva. Its Roshei Yeshiva have included Rabbis Reuven Grozovsky, Gedalia Schorr, and Yaacov Kamenetsky. Among its graduates are Rabbis Yisroel Belsky, J.D. Bleich, Yosef Goldman, Nosson Scherman, Moshe Leib Rabinovich (current Munkatcher Rebbe), Lipa Margolis, and Professor Aaron Twerski. The two brothers, Rabbis Dovid Shustel and Shlomo Feivel Shustel studied there as well. Their father Rabbi Simcha Shustel was the Rosh Kollel.
The yeshiva reopened in the recent years. It is currently headed by R' Don Ungarisher, who is the son-in-law of R' Reuven Grozovsky.
PART ONE! THE REAL STORY MUST BE FINALLY TOLD!
I'm sitting on a very humble couch, in a very humble living room, in a very, very humble house in Monsey, New York. My cousin Rabbi Menachem is speaking passionately with my father z"l, sitting to my right.
I'm very young - I'm hearing words that I never heard before in conjunction with rabbis and Orthodox Jews. NEVER!
"Forged deeds, forged signatures, fraudulent notary seals, grand theft, embezzlement, defrauding Yeshiva Torah Vodaath of millions of dollars." New homes - being built on land owned by Torah Vodaath - but the new legal entity with all the official looking title documents and seals, called Batei Elyon Inc., had as officers, people by the names of George Schorr and Louis Septimus. These homes were built on Saddle River Road right behind Bais Medrash Elyon, on parcels still owned by Yeshiva Torah Vodaath - Brooklyn, N.Y., a non-profit corporation --- the holy of holiest of all yeshivas, (even though they had scumbags passing through like Aron Twerski, Yisroel Belsky and Lipa Margulies)--- once upon a time! Rabbi Menachem is gesturing, hands flailing in the air, and brings, what seemed like 50 pounds of legal documents to the couch. I'm feeling very ill, sensitive stomachs run in my family. I barely made it to the bathroom --- I puked my guts out all over the place!
In the early 1940's --- Rabbi Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz ztvk"l, had a vision of building a Torah community in a town nobody ever heard of --- Monsey. He had already picked out the local grocer to-be - Mr. Stern - to house a kosher market for the "soon to be thriving" Torah community. The principal and the first rabbi of the new Torah community was selected; Yeshiva of Spring Valley and Congregation Bais Yisroel were on the drawing board to be headed by Rabbi Dov Greenbaum z"l - a son in-law of RSFM.
So he convinced anybody and everybody that had a dollar to their name, and had a Jewish name - to fund the purchase of this huge tract of land - acres and acres of farmland with a few farmhouses, from Main St. to Saddle River Road - on behalf of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath.
Mr. Moshe Fensterheim a"h - told me that RSFM was a man with no shame - he asked R' Moshe, a talmid, for maaser money (to tithe) from his wedding gifts. One can only imagine the amount of wedding money R' Moshe received.
RSFM scrapped the skeptics; MONSEY? JEWS? KOSHER? TORAH COMMUNITY?
They laughed and scoffed "what did he know about building communities?" - he beat them up --- badly! So badly --- their grandchildren and great-grandchildren are devout Orthodox Jews. How's that for revenge?
The transaction happened -- a post-graduate yeshiva and a kollel was established --- Aish Dos and Bais Medrash Elyon. The first out of town Orthodox training ground for future rebbes in yeshivas, and the first kollel of its kind on American soil. Now RSFM was ready to implement yet another "crazy idea" --- an organization that was going to create a yeshiva day school movement, providing authentic chinuch to Jewish children in every major American city --- Torah Umesorah.
Back to the humble couch in Monsey.....
(To be continued... not necessarily in consecutive posts)