Khal Bnei Shlomo Zalman, Rav Frankel’s Shul, Launches New Chapter with Chanukas Habayis of Magnificent Bais Medrash


rav-frankels-shulShabbos Parshas Ki Savo will be a Shabbos to remember for the mispalelim of Khal Bnei Shlomo Zalman of Flatbush, as they celebrated the chanukas habayis of their new magnificent bais medrash on East 21st Street. Rabbonim and baalei batim from throughout the community joined in wishing mazel tov to the distinguished rov of the kehillah, Rav Yosef Frankel, the Vyelipoler Rov, out of recognition of the shul‘s rich history and pioneering presence in the Midwood community.

The Shabbos was the culmination of a celebration that began on Monday, September 3, with a hachnosas Sefer Torah that saw an outpouring of affection and support for a kehillah that was founded more than 70 years ago by the indefatigable Rav Benzion Frankel zt”l and his wife, Rebbetzin Chaye Frankel a”h. The Sefer Torah was dedicated in memory of Reb Meir Yehuda Langsam, father of Reb Usher Langsam, and Mrs. Rivkeh Edelman, mother of Mrs. Chani Langsam. Prominent rabbonim and others participated in the writing of the final letters of the new Sefer Torah at the Langsam home before joining the large crowd that participated in the festive march of the Sefer Torah to the new shul. Usher Langsam was the central figure behind the ambitious undertaking of the newly constructed shul, a role that has earned him the admiration of all the members of the kehillah.

The simcha of the hachnosas Sefer Torah filled the street outside of the new shul with beautiful dancing, which included the march of the other Sifrei Torah from the shul‘s temporary location around the corner from its new home.

In an emotional address, Rav Frankel spoke of the significance of the moment as the new shul, which had been under construction for nearly two years, opened its doors. The rov spoke of those “doors” in his message at the new shul on Shabbos, comparing them to the inner doors of the Bais Hamikdosh, which were the passageway to the place of the Ribono Shel Olam‘s Presence.

Rav Frankel said that although the kehillah was started by his late father more than 70 years ago, its history really goes back 170 years, when his zaide, Rav Shlomo Zalman of Vyelipol, for whom the shul is named, undertook the seemingly impossible task of building a shul for the impoverished shtetel of Vyelipol in Galicia. Although the shul was one of the few town structures that survived the Nazi onslaught, it was destroyed by fire after the war on the first night that the locals attempted to use the structure as a theater. The building was taken apart stone by stone when the locals realized its holiness, each securing a stone as a good omen.

The chanukas habayis banquet in the shul‘s simcha hall followed the first Minchah in the new shul led by Rav Frankel. It was an event that saw the participation of an impressive array of rabbonim from the community and elsewhere. The major address was delivered by Rav Shimshon Sherer, rov of Khal Zichron Mordechai, who paid tribute to the shul‘s reputation for Torah, avodah and gemillus chassodim. He particularly singled out the leadership of the rov. He recounted how it was Rav Frankel who encouraged him to pursue a career in rabbonus.

Rav Y. Rubin, the rov of Brisdowitz, offered greetings, praising the kehillah and the Langsam family.

For many of the participants, the chanukas habayis and later the dedication of the bais medrash on Shabbos was more than a celebration. It was an opportunity to reflect on the success of a kehillah that their fathers helped found. For Moshe Chopp, and his brothers Avrohom and Joshua, it was a time to remember the central role that their late father, Reb Menachem Mendel z”l, played in a kehillah he first stepped into in the 1930s before he and several other members were drafted into the US Army to join the war effort. Manny, as he was affectionately known, became the gabbai of the kehillah almost from the day he set foot in the bais medrash of Rav Benzion Frankel.

Speaking on Shabbos, Moshe could only wonder what his father and the other founders would have said upon seeing the magnificent new bais medrash.

“They would indeed wonder if they were in the right place, but they would soon recognize the faces of their children who continued in their tradition of building a makom Torah vechesed,” said Moshe.

Fittingly, the Chopp family dedicated the new bais medrash in their father’s memory.

Rebbetzin Chaye Ginsberg, addressing the women at the lavish Kiddush on Shabbos, also recalled the grandeur of the Frankels. “Behind every successful man (Rav Benzion Frankel) was another successful man (Manny Chopp), and behind every successful man is, of course, a successful woman (Mrs. Clara Chopp), who is not only the mother to the Chopps but to our entire kehillah,” she said. She went on to describe how the Chopps and Frankels partnered to build this beautiful kehillah.

David Farber of Monsey, one of the participants of the Shabbos, traced his roots to the shul‘s early days in Crown Heights, when his late father, Benny Farber z”l, became the president of a kehillah that emerged as the home to Jews who fled Eastern Europe either before the war or as refugees from the bitter churban.

“My bris was one of the first in the shul,” said David, who joined many others in reflecting on the unique role that the late Rav and Rebbetzin Frankel played in rebuilding the lives of these forlorn Jews, many of whom lost entire families in the European inferno. David still returns to the shul his father helped found for the Yomim Noraim and other occasions.

The shul‘s move to Midwood in the early 1970s was trailblazing. The late rov and a group of members had decided to continue to build a kehillah in largely uncharted territory for the Torah community. But with the early passing of the rov, the task of building fell on his son, Rav Yosef Franked, and his wife, Rebbetzin Shayne, daughter of Rav Levi Yitzchok Horowitz, the Bostoner Rebbe zt”l. Together with the elder Rebbetzin Chaye Frankel a”h, they built a formidable kehillah that became the “mother of all kehillos” in Flatbush. Indeed, to this day, the shul is celebrated for its chessed and tzedakah, in addition to its virtual around-the-clock minyanim and shiurim.

The momentous Shabbos brought the kehillah‘s prominence as a center of tefillah, Torah and chessed clearly into focus. Guests from far and wide enjoyed the beautiful tefillos, highlighted by Reb Eli Abramczyk (Kabbolas Shabbos), the Mezamrim (Shacharis) and Chazan Shaya Slomowitz (Mussaf). The spontaneous dancing on Friday night was testimony to the enormous simcha felt by all on the first Shabbos in the new bais medrash, with its majestic aron kodesh, a well-appointed high ceiling, stained glass windows, a women’s gallery and a library. The shul also has a beautiful mikvah, dedicated by the Lefkowitz family in memory of the late askan, Reb Yisroel Lefkowitz z”l.

Rav Benzion Frankel, the rav hatzair of Sasregen, said that the building of a bais medrash “is like no other, since it is built not for its inhabitants but as a house of the Ribono Shel Olam.” He invoked the memory of his grandfather, for whom he is named, who made the bais medrash a focal point of the kehillah.

The special Shabbos at Khal Bnei Shlomo Zalman ended with a beautiful seudah shlishis, where one of the shul‘s board members, Yaakov Kluger, thanked all those who made the building possible. The mara d’asra, Rav Frankel, gave a bracha that the next glorious chapter would iy”H occur when the bais medrash and all of its mispalelim are transplanted to Yerushalayim with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, bimeheirah beyomeinu. Amein.

{Andy Newscenter}


  1. The shul is a wonderful place where anyone can come to learn or for a shiur or for davening. besides for a beautiful building, the atmosphere is beautiful as well!!

  2. The participation of the spinka rebbe shlita at the hachnasas sefer torah was very inspiring,watching him dance with the new gorah was a sight to see….

  3. the next glorious chapter would iy”H occur when the bais medrash and all of its mispalelim are transplanted to Yerushalayim with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, bimeheirah beyomeinu. Amein.

    why not now?

  4. As a guest from out of town: I davened there very often, there was a very warm athmosphere, the rav and Mispallilim always gave me Sholom Aleichem and felt at home: Mazel Tov to them: