Taanis Esther: Marking the 8th Yahrzeit of Reb Yossel Friedenson Z”L

Reb Yosef Friedenson Z”L, the quintessential Holocaust survivor, was taken from us on Shabbos Parshas Zachor, 5773.

But “Reb Yossel” was more than just a survivor; he was an embodiment of the precious Jews of pre-War Poland, and for 70 years he chronicled their lives and let them speak through his throat. He called himself a graduate of six institutions of Nazi atrocities, but he was a “PhD” in the faith, kindness, generosity, and fortitude of the few who survived and the multitude that didn’t.

For 70 years, he served as the historian of Jewish heroism and faith in the future: in his classic Yiddish magazine, Dos Yiddishe Vort, in several books, as one of the leaders of Agudath Israel, and as an exceptional lecturer, he told the story of spiritual heroism, the greatest and hardest form of resistance.

In the autobiography of his life, Faith Amid the Flames, you are brought into the world of Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin, the glorious community of Lodz, his encounters with the great gedolim and lustrous askanim of yesteryear, as well as the Gehinnom of the Shoah. It’s all in this book, all in the words of Reb Yossel, as he brought 3 million kedoshim to life. He was unforgettable, and this classic volume demonstrates why he was so revered in his lifetime and why his legacy will live on.

Y’hi Zichro Boruch.

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