There have been some murmurings by friends of mine in the greater Breuers community, both in and out of the Heights, about the newest addition to the Yekke bookshelf. I refer to Rabbi Dr. Chaim Ehrman’s recet work, “ My Rebbe Rav Schwab” (Menucha Publishers, 2019).
The murmurings are over the inclusion of a section on “Minhagim of KAJ”. The book is written by someone who moved away over 40 years ago, and even when living in the Heights was not a regular at the main minyanim at 85-93. Further, there is no indication that anyone was consulted from within the small group of reliably careful people who have been reviewing and editing copy for the various kehilla publications, or for that matter anyone in the Schwab family.
Now, I have not contacted any Schwab representatives but if you buy the book you will quickly discover that he received a mandate from Rav Schwab z’l to publish his meticulous English notes and even received a nod of approval from the late JGB z’l.
Next, you will notice that the minhag section is light on details. It doesn’t tell you to switch the ma’aravos for the first night of Sukkos or where the chazan begins to read aloud at the end of az yashir. It is rather a loose collection of notes and background on some general guidance he has received regarding minhag and Halacha from the Heights.
Now, speaking as a guilty party myself- for if anyone has written, produced, disseminated, and cyber-ized vast amounts of information and history of our kehilla, without consulting the carefully circumspect inner-circle of auskim betzorchei tzibbur, those who are normally responsible for the veracity and tactful dissemination of kehilla documentation…IT IS I. GUILTY. GUILTY AM I.
So, I take my soiled finger and point at this work and add it to the voices from without. The unofficial biographers. The uncertified and the unauthorized…but the well meaning. We have a voice too. And, alas, we have spoken.
I don’t expect, nor would I want, my content to be treated as seriously as the serious volumes of literature produced by and through the Kehilla and its worthy representatives. The existence of one need not preclude the other, though.
In the spirit of unauthorized biographies, I am turning to my readers and asking them to submit their personal interactions and received Torah of Rav Schwab. I will add some of my own. In the spirit of friendly blogging, I will only publish positive interactions. So if you need to vent, please choose someone else’s platform.