Share certificate of Ponovezh Yeshiva Ltd., Johannesburg, South Africa. 1927. 29 x 25.5 cm.
A printed certificate of Ponovezh Yeshiva Ltd. in South Africa, filled in by hand, and with the duty stamp of the South African authorities. It comes together with a power of attorney to transfer ownership of the certificate, with the signature of R. Kahaneman’s agent in Johannesburg, as well as R. Kahaneman’s stamp with his South African address.
R. Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman was born in Lithuania in 1886.
He studied in the Chafetz Chaim’s famous Kodoshim Kollel together with R. Elchanan Wasserman, later Rosh Yeshiva of the Ohel Torah Yeshiva in Baranovich. In 1919 he became Rabbi of the Lithuanian city of Ponevezh, where he established and ran a large and important yeshiva.
To raise funds for his yeshiva, he travelled to South Africa where two of his brothers had emigrated to, and had succeeded financially. His fundraising efforts were crowned with success and his brothers advised to him to invest some of the funds in local real estate. For that purpose, he established a company in Johannesburg under the name “Ponovezh Yeshiva Ltd. and was able to raise more money by selling shares in this company.
He escaped Lithuania with great heavenly Providence and reached Israel with one son. He settled in Bnei Brak, then a small religious settlement. Supported by the Chazon Ish, he established the Ponevez Yeshiva in the midst of World War II, to the amazement of many. He was a central figure in the development of Bnei Brak and, until the end of his life, established more and more yeshivas to eternalize those destroyed in the Holocaust, as well as other institutions. The financial ability to establish his yeshiva in Bnei Brak was due in great part to revenues from his South African investment.
Here is a rare historical document about the revitalization of the yeshivas in Israel following the Holocaust.