On Rabbi Hertz Frankel

On Rabbi Hertz Frankel

I read Jonathan Mark’s article about Rabbi Hertz Frankel with great appreciation. (“Satmar And ‘The Last Lion,’” Jan. 15)

In 1963, I had a part-time job teaching “English” to 10th and 11th grade students at Bais Rochel, the Satmar Yeshiva High School for girls in downtown Brooklyn. I had some wonderful experiences there teaching young women who were destined to be married within the next two years. (There was no 12th grade so there would be no possible higher education.) 

I was dismayed when I saw the literature anthology that was provided by the New York City Board of Education for the students. It had entire sections carefully cut out of each book. I am anti-censorship — especially, what could be wrong with a Board of Education selection in 1963? So I made an appointment to see the principal, Rabbi Frankel, to protest.

He smiled good-naturedly and said something to this effect:  “Esther, if you think this is bad, you should see their Jewish subjects; the girls are not allowed to study any original texts — edited versions are included in the Yiddish Tzena Rena [The Woman’s Bible].”

I have been in touch with Rabbi Frankel from time to time over the years — the girls are and were lucky to have him as principal.


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