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Rav Pinchas Mordechai Teitz

Rav Pinchas Mordechai Teitz

Rav Pinchas Mordechai Teitz saw opportunities for the growth of Torah when he came to the U.S. in 1933. He built a modern Torah community in Elizabeth, NJ, where two mikvaos, three schools, and five shuls form a united JEC, Jewish Educational Center. In 1953 he wanted to enable those who had become disillusioned with socialism and Communism to re-connect with the Torah of their youth. He would bring the beit midrash into their homes through a weekly half-hour of study in Yiddish on their favorite radio station, WEVD. Although a full page could not be covered in a half hour, he called it Daf Hashavua. Not only did he reach his intended audience, but a government survey of foreign language programs found 200,000 listeners. Rav Teitz sent tapes of the broadcasts to Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, and Philadelphia, initiating the Torah tapes phenomenon. Jews in Russia heard the shiurim on short-wave radios through Kol Yisrael Lagolah. After he ended the program in 1988 a new wave of university students asked for tapes in order to hear pure, elegant Litvishe Yiddish. Scholars enjoyed his clarity in explaining the gemara; he started each topic with the Torah verses behind it. His grandson Avi, who learned with Rav Teitz on Shabbos afternoons, said, “Some people make you feel the gemara is too complicated for you; Saba makes it clear.”