Thursday, November 29, 2018

Rav Shimon Sholom Kalish of Amshinov 1949

rare footage of Rav Shimon Sholom Kalish of Amshinov in 1949.

Rabbi Shimon Sholom Kalish, was the son of Rabbi Menachem Kalish (1860-1918), the 2nd Rebbe of Amshinov in Mszczonów (Yiddish: אמשינאוו Amshinov), Poland, and the brother of Rabbi Yosef Kalish, Rebbe of Amshinov (d. 1935). When Rabbi Menachem passed away in 1918, Rabbi Shimon Sholom, became rebbe in Otwock (Yiddish: אטוואצק Otvotsk).

He was a major driving force behind the exodus of thousands of young men in Mir, Kletsk, Radin, Novhardok, and other yeshivas, via Russia and Japan to Shanghai at the outbreak of World War II. By the time Shanghai came under Japanese control, it held 26,000 Jews (Shanghai Ghetto). The Lubavitcher Bochurem and Yeshiva lacked senior leadership during their time in Shanghai. They were therefor instructed by the Rebbe Rayatz of Lubavitch to consult and seek direction from the Amshinover.

As World War II intensified, the Nazis stepped up pressure on Japan to hand over the Shanghai Jews. Warren Kozak describes the episode when the Japanese military governor of the city sent for the Jewish community leaders. The delegation included Amshinover rabbi Shimon Sholom Kalish. The Japanese governor was curious: "Why do the Germans hate you so much?"

"Without hesitation and knowing the fate of his community hung on his answer, Reb Kalish told the translator (in Yiddish): "Zugim weil mir senen orientalim — Tell him the Germans hate us because we are Oriental." The governor, whose face had been stern throughout the confrontation, broke into a slight smile. In spite of the military alliance, he did not accede to the German demand and the Shanghai Jews were never handed over." 

After the war, Rabbi Shimon moved to the United States. Upon his passing in 1954, his son Rabbi Yerachmiel Yehuda Myer Kalish (1901-1976) accompanied Rabbi Shimon's body to Tiberias in Israel, and remained there.The current Amshinover Rebbe Shlita is a great grandosn of Rav Shimon Sholom.

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