R. Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman
Letter with the signature of R. Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, head of the Ponevez Yeshiva. 1968.
The letter is two pages, and printed on the letterhead of the Yeshiva. In it, Rabbi Kahaneman unveils his plan to set up a “Donor of the Day, ” system to support the Yeshiva. His hope was that every day another individual would accept upon himself the entire support of the Yeshiva for a single day. Rabbi Kahaneman suggested that the day could be one close to the donor’s heart, such as a yahrzeit, a birthday, an anniversary.
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. In 1919 he became Rabbi of the Lithuanian city of Ponevez, where he established and ran a large and important yeshiva. He escaped the Holocaust and settled in Bene Brak, Israel, 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 Bene Brak, and towards the end of his life, established several yeshivot named after ones destroyed in the Holocaust.