Plaque at Torah Academy in memory of Rabbi Bernhard

  • SuzanneBernhard
They came from near and far to pay tribute to the memory of Rabbi Nachman Meir Bernhard - Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, Rabbi Mendel Lipskar, head of the Lubavitch Foundation, many rabbonim, and Rabbi Bernhard’s wife Joan, his children from South Africa, Israel and the US, to witness the unveiling of a plaque in the rabbi’s memory at Torah Academy Primary School.
by SUZANNE BELLING | Feb 02, 2017

Likening Rabbi Bernhard to the forefathers in the Shabbos parsha Vaeira, Rabbi Lipskar referred to Rabbi Bernhard’s relationship with the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson and how it impacted on his founding of one of the first Torah schools, which eventually became Torah Academy. “It began with one school and one man,” he said.

The passing of Rabbi Bernhard would have been “the biggest loss if we didn’t remember” and a “great consolation” in his zchus and of his neshama that his memory would be renewed every time one walked past the plaque.

Paying tribute to Rabbi Bernhard, Rabbi Dovid Hazdan, dean of Torah Academy, where Rabbi Bernhard served on the Chinuch Hanhala (education management committee), Rabbi Hazdan said, according to his teacher and mentor: “There are some who make it happen, those who watch it happen and others that say ‘what happened?’”

Rabbi Bernhard had undoubtedly been in the first category. He was an inspiration and made a difference to the history of the Jewish community.

Chief Rabbi Goldstein recalled Rabbi Bernhard’s “friendship, kindness and wisdom. He was a pioneer” who impacted on so many people.

The school he founded reflected both quantity and quality. “He was an optimist - about Torah, klal Yisrael and had emunah (faith) in Hashem.”

Rabbi Goldstein referred to Rabbi Bernhard’s outspoken criticism of the apartheid government and alluded to the Rebbe’s obvious influence on Rabbi Bernhard’s thinking.

Daughter Tova Rubenstein, from Israel, paid tribute to her father’s love of classical music and Torah education and Judaism. “He integrated it and internalised what he learnt and lived by it,” she said.

Rebbetzen Joan Bernhard, who had been at her husband’s side, supporting his every endeavour for many years, unveiled the plaque, with her son Kivi, who came from the US  for the occasion.


1 Comment

  1. 1 Harold 02 Feb
    Rabbi Bernhard was one of the few Robbonim with the guts to speak out against apartheid and admonish his community for not caring for their maids
    He was an educated and brave man


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