Yeshiva Ahavas Torah Baranovich encompasses study, perpetuation, documentation and publication, all relating to the pre-Holocaust Jewish Community of Baranovich, White Russia. Based in Jerusalem, Israel, it was founded by the late Rabbi Leib Baron zt”l (originally: Baranovich) of Montreal, Canada, who was one of the most illustrious and accomplished alumni of the “Ohel Torah” Yeshiva in Baranovich. It is presently headed by his son, rabbi Elchonon Baron. The activities and history during its twenty years of existence include:
- Yeshiva (1997-2000)
Advanced institute of higher Torah learning for unmarried post-secondary students. Included dormitory and dining facilities, and a staff of renowned Torah Scholars.
- Kollel (1997-2014)
Scholarship program for advanced married students, distributing monthly stipends to worthy students.
- Publishing (1997-)
We have already published several works, which also include heretofore unpublished Rabbinic material from the great Torah Scholars of Baranovich. We are presently (2017) working on the final stages of editing Rabbi Leib Baron’s writings of Rabbi Wasserman’s shiurim. A new major compilation on the Talmud is now in the preparatory stages. This monumental work is envisaged to include writings from Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman zt”l hy”d, and other scholarly Rabbis of Baranovich on the entire Talmud.
- Holocaust Education (1998)
The Yeshiva organized a trip to Baranovich, and other major centers of Torah scholarship in pre-Holocaust White Russia and Lithuania, in 1998. The group was headed by four scholars who grew up and studied in Baranovich.
- Documentation (1997-2000)
We initiated the writing of newspaper and periodical articles in English, Hebrew and Yiddish about life and study in pre-Holocaust Baranovich, and other major Yeshivas of White Russia and Lithuania. We have many hours of historic audio-visual material for scholarly and research purposes, as a result of the above-mentioned historic tour. A one hour edited version of this film was widely distributed. We helped and contributed to the monumental translation of the Baranovich Yizkor books into English.
- Archives (1997-)
We have created an historical archive, which includes documentation relating to the Jewish Community of Baranovich. We have attempteed to be a source of information for people seeking information about Baranovich. A website was in the production stages, but was postponed indefinitely due to lack of funding.
- Assistance to the Jewish Community in Baranovich (1997-1999)
During the historic trip to Baranovich, a connection was established with the contemporary struggling small Jewish Community of Baranovich. The relationship subsequently deepened to include the following projects:
- Subsidizing the rental of an apartment for community services in Baranovich,
- Contributing religious articles to the community
- Negotiating with the various levels of government in Belarus for the return of a building for the use of the community (no Jewish community building exists for hundreds of kilometers in all directions). Unfortunately we were unable to complete those negotiation due to funding constraints.