Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Shevat 5764 - February 18, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











HaRav Alexander Dominitz zt"l
by S. Baruchi

A large crowd attended the levaya of HaRav Alexander Dominitz zt"l, one of the great paragons of chessed in our day, one of the great achievers in kiruv rechokim around the world and especially in Yokneam in the north of Eretz Yisroel. He passed away in his 79th year after a short illness.

HaRav Alexander Dominitz was born in Cologne, Germany. His father Rav Yaakov was murdered in the Holocaust. Together with thousands of other teenage children, he was sent to the death camps, but miraculously he managed to escape.

Somehow, alone in an area inhabited by German nationals, he managed to survive the war years. He did not tell anyone that he was a Jew. During that period he vowed that if he survived that valley of death he would dedicate his life to helping Klal Yisroel by helping in chessed and Torah institutions.

The only one of his family to survive the Nazi death machine, he arrived in Liverpool, England after the war and joined the yeshiva of HaRav Y. Plitnick zt"l. As other survivors of the Holocaust arrived in England, he worked to help them, healing their broken hearts and supporting their efforts to rehabilitate themselves, in keeping with his vow during the war years. He organized the community in Liverpool to help with the refugees.

After marriage he settled in London, working with youth whom he was mekarev. Filled with a sense of mission, he went out to save Jewish youth and, with his pleasant manner and a heart radiating ahavas Yisroel, he was successful in reaching many individuals and families and teaching them about true Jewish traditions.

For the children of the families he was mekarev, the Yesodei HaTorah school opened special classes geared to their needs. Many of those children have since grown up to become true bnei Torah, and many of them now serve as roshei yeshivos, dayanim and rabbonim. HaRav Dominitz often saw to their needs for many years, even to making their weddings and beyond.

HaRav Alexander's home in London was a vibrant center of chessed. He helped wherever it was needed, in both ruchniyus and gashmiyus. Hundreds of families in London owe him an extremely deep debt of gratitude, as he cared for each according to their needs in all spheres of life.

His middos were unusual as, with all his accomplishments, he conducted himself with the utmost tsnius. He was able to communicate and relate to everyone, at any level. His bright and friendly demeanor by itself lifted many spirits.

Twenty years ago he came to Eretz Yisroel and stayed with his son who lives in Zichron Yaakov, not far from Haifa. While there he heard of the Torah activities that were going on in the nearby town of Yokneam. When he was told that it only required additional funds to greatly expand the network of shiurim and other Torah activities, he undertook to be responsible for the funds necessary to support those activities which, through the years, expanded also to include Moshav Eliakim and Ein HaEmek.

Little by little the number of baalei teshuvoh began to increase, mostly through seminars organized by Arachim. HaRav Dominitz often sponsored families at these Arachim seminars. "It is not right that a Jew wants to learn Torah and become closer to Jewish tradition and he should not be able to because of a lack of funds," he said.

Dozens of families eventually returned to their Jewish roots, as kindergartens and day care centers were opened to serve them -- all funded by HaRav Alexander Dominitz, who was able to arouse the support of the Jewish community in London and other places in England for the revolution in Yokneam. Eventually kollelim also opened, and the spiritual momentum was so strong that very soon a yeshiva ketanoh is due to open in a spacious building that HaRav Dominitz began putting up.

The blessed work of HaRav Dominitz and his partners, especially HaRav Oded Sirri, spread to Moshav Eliakim, as mentioned earlier. Most of its residents are now baalei teshuvoh, and the young children learn in yeshivas. About a decade ago a half-day kollel was opened, and dozens of local residents attend.

All told, his activities in Yokneam were mekarev more than two-hundred-and-fifty families! Rav Dominitz truly founded a Torah community yesh mei'ayin.

In a larger sense, his efforts extended all over the north of Israel. Torah activists who approached him for help say that they never heard him say, "I can't do it." Every request was answered and he always used to say, "Im tzarich, as HaKadosh Boruch Hu ya'azor. -- If it must be, then HaKadosh Boruch Hu will help." Even at his advanced age he used to hurry here and there to do as much as he could.

In recent years he moved to Brachfeld-Modiin Illit, but he continued to work for the Torah institutions in the north and families in need all over Israel. Recently he became ill and last Wednesday, 19 Shvat (February 11), he returned his pure soul to his Maker.

The levaya left Shamgar in Jerusalem. Speaking were: HaRav A. Shechter, HaRav N. Schreibman his talmid and HaRav Y. Ehrentreu. Hespedim at Brachfeld were said by the moro de'asra HaRav Y. Zicherman, HaRav A. Barzel, HaRav A. Dunner, and his son HaRav Aryeh Leib.

At Zichron Yaakov, hespedim were said by HaRav S. Yungerman, HaRav Y. M. Zonnenfeld, HaRav C. B. Nebenzahl, HaRav Yomtov Kraus of London, his son HaRav Aryeh Leib and his grandson HaRav Dovid Shlomoh.

At the cemetery after the burial, a hesped was said by the rov of Yokneam, HaRav M. Vaknin.

He left behind four sons and five daughters, all following his path, in addition to hundreds of families who were like children to him, as well as many friends -- all of whom mourn his passing.


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