Tonight: Rav Moshe Tuvia Lieff to Address Shuvu’s 19th Anniversary Dinner

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lieff “What can we do to help?” That is what thousands of loyal and generous supporters have been asking Shuvu over the past almost two decades. Their eagerness to be part of this monumental movement – to bring Russian children, living in Eretz Yisroel, back to Yiddishkeit – helped create one of the most unique and massive kiruv school systems in the world. 15,000 children are enrolled in 68 schools, including elementary and high schools. There is a yeshiva gedolah, a bais medrash and a kollel. New Torah homes are established each year. To date, Shuvu has brought a Torah chinuch to over 50,000 Russian Jewish children.

Among these steadfast supporters, Reb Mordechai Yosef ben Shlomo Hakohen Knopf, Mr. Max Knopf z”l, stands out. From the beginning, he was ready to do whatever it took to found Shuvu and help it grow. Tonight, at the Shuvu annual dinner, there will be a special memorial tribute acknowledging the role he played in that growth.

Shuvu’s beloved chairman since its inception, Mr. Knopf was present at the Agudah convention almost twenty years ago when he heard Rav Avrohom Pam’s plea for askanim to help bring thousands of Russian Jews who were then flooding Eretz Yisroel back to Yiddishkeit.  From that moment, he remained one of Shuvu’s staunchest and most loyal supporters, never relinquishing the awesome responsibility of bringing a lost shevet back to Klal Yisroel. Indeed, Mr. Knopf once described the emigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union as “the largest exodus of Jews since Yetzias Mitzrayim.” 

 The first Shuvu parlor meeting was held in the Knopf home, where, in a remarkable showing for a nascent, grassroots effort, hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised. He travelled twice a year to visit the Shuvu schools and was always freshly amazed at Shuvu’s accomplishments, many of which were the direct result of his askanus and unstinting support. In the early 1990s, Mr. Knopf dedicated the first Shuvu school in Ashkelon, which today has over 600 students. Throughout his life, a Sunday ritual was to go to friends, acquaintances and business associates to raise funds for the cause that was dearest to his heart: Shuvu.   

An anticipated highlight of this year’s dinner will be the dedication of the Shuvu Chadera campus l’illui nishmas Reb Shlomo ben Reb Shmuel Yosef Rieder z”l. The Rieder family’s connection to Shuvu goes back many years to their kesher with Rav Pam zt”l.  Dedicating the Chadera campus – one of Shuvu’s largest and most successful schools, with 60% of its student body among the poorest in the country – is a fitting tribute to Mr. Rieder. Shuvu teachers in Chadera are continuously called upon to provide their students with basic necessities like food, clothing and shoes. Fittingly, Mr. Rieder was known to seek out opportunities to perform chessed for anyone who needed his help.

During the nightmare Holocaust years, his unassuming accounts of survival in the concentration camps attested to his selflessness and heroism. Many individuals owe their lives to his intervention and assistance. After the war and throughout his life, he and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, his eishes chayil, Mrs. Edith Rieder, never lost sight of the importance of helping mosdos haTorah, widows and orphans, the neighbor who needed a loan, the sick and lonely. The commitment to helping others is deeply entrenched in the Rieder sons, R’ Yussi, R’Shmuel and R’ Avrumy, all outstanding bnei Torah and baalei chessed.

The Shuvu Special Education Program Dedication l’illui nishmas Mrs. Brocha Biderman a”h touches close to home. Mrs. Biderman’s oldest son, R’ Avrohom Biderman, is one of Rav Pam’s closest and most devoted talmidim. Appointed by the rosh yeshiva as co-chairman the day he founded Shuvu, R’ Avrohom has worked continuously for the past nineteen years to sustain his revered rebbi‘s life’s dream.

Born in Bilgoray, Poland, Brocha was the daughter of Reb Osher Zelig z”l, a prominent Belzer chossid, and Mrs. Rivka Merzel a”h.  Her life changed drastically at the age of 15, when her mother became separated from the family and she, her father and one sister were deported to Siberia. After the war, she married Reb Chaim Yehoshua Biderman z”l, a Gerrer chossid, in the displaced persons camp, and together they raised their sons, Avrohom and Eliezer, with  abiding emunah and Torah values. Mrs. Biderman was zocheh to see her sons establish homes of Torah, avodah and gemillus chassodim, and took pride in their involvement in the klal.

After the petirah of his mother, Reb Avrohom and his family dediced to designate Shuvu’s Special Education Program as an aliyah for her neshama. Although there are bright and attentive children in every Shuvu classroom and some are even budding talmidei chachomim, Shuvu teachers must receive highly specialized training to detect and handle learning disabilities so that those children can reach their fullest potential as well. That training and the programs that were put in place to help these children are an important component of a Shuvu chinuch. This is one of the reasons that Shuvu schools are so attractive to Russian parents who value a good education.

The Safier and Friedman families will dedicate the Tel Aviv kindergarten l’illui nishmas their father, Aron Meir ben Pinchos z”l. Mr. Safier, a quiet and modest man, with deep roots in “der heim,” was born in the illustrious city of Lizhensk, Poland, birthplace of the Noam Elimelech. Orphaned before his bar mitzvah, Mr. Safier was raised by his grandfather, Reb Dovid Rothman z”l, a person of stature in the Belzer kehillah. Deported to Siberia, he survived with a strength borne of tremendous emunah and siyata diShmaya. After the war, as the 18-year-old “man” in the family, Mr. Safier settled in Brownsville, New York, with his mother and sisters. After his marriage to the former Frieda Bobker, he moved to Crown Heights and then to Boro Park, where he davened in the Belzer Bais Medrash, reestablishing his family’s lost connection to Belzer chassidus.

The Safiers raised their children, Shifra Friedman, Reb Pinchos and Reb Yaakov, to embody the qualities of Torah and chessed. The Safier sons received semichah from Rav Pam zt”l, and Reb Yaakov is a son-in-law of Mr. Zev Wolfson, Shuvu’s largest benefactor.   

This year’s dinner chairman, Mr. Elly Kleinman, gives considerably of his time and kochos to many Torah and chessed causes. A renowned askan with a warm and generous heart, Mr. Kleinman supports a wide-ranging and extensive list of yeshivos and chessed organizations. He is one of the most active members of his shul, Bais Hamedrash Bais Yitzchok-Tenke in Flatbush, and is president and CEO of The Americare Companies, a group of companies that are major providers of home health and rehabilitation services throughout New York State. Through his business, Mr. Kleinman frequently provides free services to needy individuals who don’t qualify for care. Mr. Kleinman’s Shuvu connection dates back many years and is rooted in his close relationship to Rav Pam. Mr. Kleinman credits his financial success to Rav Pam’s encouragement in choosing this career path, which enables him to perform chessed. Seven years ago, he and his wife, Brochie, dedicated the Lod campus, one of Shuvu’s most stellar schools educationally, and last Sukkos they dedicated the new Shuvu girls’ high school in Petach Tikva.

The Rav Pam Legacy Award is traditionally an opportunity to recognize Rav Pam’s outstanding talmidim who have gone on to become Torah personalities in their own right. This year’s recipient is Rav Zev Smith. Rav Smith is a renowned maggid shiur in some of the most prestigious mosdos haTorah in New York and is marbitz Torah, through his tapes and shiurim, to literally tens of thousands of people all over the world. Rav Smith was one of the rosh yeshiva‘s closest talmidim and is a stellar example of the gadol‘s enduring influence.

This year’s journal chairman, Yisroel Blumenfrucht, fits  that category as well. From his yeshiva days in Rav Pam’s shiur, Reb Yisroel remained a close talmid of the rosh yeshiva, always seeking his rebbi‘s advice in every major decision in his life. He and his wife, Chanee, have hosted Shuvu parlor meetings in their home in Kew Gardens Hills and Reb Yisroel asserts that the yearly events are “probably the most successful fundraisers we have in this neighborhood.” The Blumenfrucht family dedicated a room in the Shuvu school in Yerushalayim l’illui nishmas Rav Pam.

This year’s distinguished roster of honorees, individuals who recognize the value of Shuvu’s work and have stepped forward, even in these extraordinarily difficult times, signify  the enduring importance of a cause that has touched and continues to touch thousands of individual lives, as it helps safeguard the future of a Torahdike Eretz Yisroel. This is of vital importance to each and every member of Klal Yisroel.

 The guest speaker at tonight’s dinner is Rav Moshe Tuvia Lieff, rov of Agudas Yisroel Bais Binyomin of Flatbush. The dinner will be held at The Palace, located at 780 McDonald Avenue in Brooklyn. The reception will start at 5:30 p.m., followed by the dinner at 6:30 p.m.

{Dovid Newscenter}


  1. Why is it so necessary ro hold all these self-congratulatory dinners? I have read reports of at least five such functions over the last few days.

    Would it not be a far better idea NOT to have an enormous fress and to devote all the money so saved to the relevant kupas tzedokoh?

    The only people benefiting from these gross and excessive banquets are the caterers – and the doctors.

    Even the doctors would forgo the fress.

  2. It was a beautiful event. The purpose of the dinners is to encourage old and to gain new donors.
    As a rule of thumb people want to have their name announced or displayed. They’ll give ‘kol hoin d’almo’ to see their name in print and to have others recognize their ‘benevolence’.
    It is also an opportune time to display to those gathered all the accomplishments of the organization. This encourages most attendees to donate more.
    Reuvain Wolf was phenominal; without notes he didn’t stumble or sttuter on his words or his thoughts.
    This was my first time at the Shuvu dinner and I’m glad I went. It encouraged me to give again.

  3. “As a rule of thumb people want to have their name announced or displayed. They’ll give ‘kol hoin d’almo’ to see their name in print and to have others recognize their ‘benevolence’.”

    Hmmmm, interesting – very interesting.

    Can someone remind me which of chazal said the best form of tzedokoh was were neither the donor nor the recipient knew each other?

    Judging from the sentences I quoted above, it would appear that many of our esteemed nadvanim have forgotten that particular pasuk and are using their “tzedokoh” for self-aggrandizement.

  4. MR. Knopf taught us a very big lesson for all of us instead of buying a big house or/and luxury he spent a big part of his fortune on kiruv.


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