Shmuel Berenbaum

Shmuel Berenbaum (March 13, 1920 – January 6, 2008) was an Orthodox rabbi and rosh yeshiva of the Mir yeshiva in Brooklyn, New York.


Shmuel Berenbaum
Refoel Shmuel Berenbaum.JPG
Shmuel Berenbaum

March 13, 1920
DiedJanuary 6, 2008 (age 87)
Brooklyn, New York, United States
ChildrenGittel Schepansky, Hany Kaminsky, Goldie Sorotzkin, Asher Berenbaum, Yisroel Berenbaum, Avrohom Berenbaum, Chuny Berenbaum, Meir Shimon Berenbaum ,Chaim Shlomo Berenbaum, Leibel Berenbaum
Alma materBaranowicze yeshiva, Belarus
Mir yeshiva, Belarus
Jewish leader
PredecessorRabbi Avraham Kalmanowitz
SuccessorRabbi Osher Kalmanowitz[1]
PositionRosh yeshiva
YeshivaMir yeshiva, Brooklyn, New York


He was born in Knyszyn, Poland and studied at Ohel Torah Yeshiva in Baranowicze, led by Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman.[2] He later studied in the Mir Yeshiva located in the town of Mir, now in Belarus.[3] At the onset of World War II, he traveled with the rest of the Mir Yeshiva to Vilna, where they remained for three weeks awaiting visas to travel abroad. After receiving destination visas to Curaçao, a Dutch protectorate in the Caribbean, they were given travel visas by the Japanese Consul in Kovno, Chiune Sugihara. The yeshiva traveled across the Trans-Siberian Railway to Vladivostok in a trip that took over two months. From there they traveled to Kobe, Japan, where they remained for 7 months before being settled by the Japanese Government in Shanghai, China.

Following the war, Berenbaum traveled with the remnants of the Mir Yeshiva to the United States and settled in Brooklyn, New York. He married the eldest daughter of the Mir rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Avraham Kalmanowitz.[4][5]

In 1964, after the passing of his father-in-law, he became the rosh yeshiva of the Mirrer Yeshiva together with his brother-in-law Rabbi Shraga Moshe Kalmanowitz.[6][7] His diligence in Torah study was legendary and he was known to spend the entire day in the yeshiva's study hall discussing Torah topics with the students.

As a policy, he would not attend any functions or weddings until after the afternoon seder in the yeshiva was over. This caused many weddings to take place late in the evening so as to allow him to officiate. He opposed his yeshiva students going to college, and later banned it outright.[citation needed] Some believe that he allowed the students to study for rabbinic ordination in order to satisfy their parents, who would otherwise want their children to attend college.[citation needed]

After Berenbaum's first heart attack, the name Refoel was added to his name.[8]


Berenbaum's grave in the Sanhedria Cemetery of Jerusalem

Berenbaum died on January 6, 2008 (28 Tevet 5768) at his home in Brooklyn from medical complications due to stomach cancer, aged 87. His funeral, held on January 7 at the Mir yeshiva,[9] was attended by tens of thousands of mourners.[1] His body was flown to Israel for burial in the Sanhedria Cemetery in Jerusalem.


  1. ^ a b "Rabbi Shmuel Berenbaum, leader of N.Y. yeshiva, dies at 87". Haaretz. Associated Press. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  2. ^ Safier, Dovi (June 15, 2021). "The Eternal Flame: The Life, Travels & Martyrdom of Rav Elchonon Wasserman".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "Hamodia". January 10, 2008.
  4. ^ "Rabbi Avrohom Kalmanowitz z"l". Archived from the original on February 5, 2011. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  5. ^ Birnbaum, Avrohom. "The Story of How Rav Avrohom Kalmanowitz zt"l Helped Save Egyptian and Syrian Jewry – Part II". Yated Ne'eman. Archived from the original on March 10, 2012. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  6. ^ "Today's Yahrtzeits & History - 28 Teves". January 14, 2010. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  7. ^ "Yahrzeits: 29 Tevet". 2012. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  8. ^ "More on the Power of Tehillim". Hakhel. 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
  9. ^ "Boruch Dayan Emmes: Maran Hagon Rav Shmuel Berenbaum Zatzal". Yeshiva World News. January 6, 2008. Retrieved September 4, 2010.

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