“Why does Hashem make bad things happen?”
“If Hashem knows everything, how can we really have free-will?”
“The other religions think they are true; how do we know we are right?”
How comfortable are we answering these questions, let alone asking them? What about when our children are the ones asking, or when they want to ask but are too afraid to do so? This was the concern of Rabbi Yitzchak Feigenbaum, veteran mechanech and menahel of Tiferes Bais Yaakov High School for Girls in Toronto. Through his initiative, talmidos have been finding fresh meaning and direction in their Yiddishkeit.
Rabbi Feigenbaum and his family moved to Toronto in 1987, where he taught at numerous Yeshivos and high schools. He then became principal of Tiferes Bais Yaakov and developed the programme that would then expand internationally.
Rabbi Feigenbaum noticed that despite the high standard and beauty of the chinuch his talmidos were receiving, many were still uninspired. There were questions that were not being answered and, perhaps even more worryingly, not being asked. The assumption that children from frum homes would automatically have solid hashkafos and a clear derech, was simply no longer true. Topics such as emunah and bitachon, sachar v’onesh, truth of Torah, bechirah and other such yesodos of understanding were all questioned and clarified.
Rabbi Feigenbaum rose to the challenge and developed a series of classes aimed at opening his students’ eyes, hearts and minds to the fundamentals of yiddishe hashkafah. In a safe and Torah-true environment, students were introduced to these essential ideas, and the response was overwhelming. Rabbi Feigenbaum rapidly became the address for talmidos voicing their questions and doubts and finding emes.
Rabbi Feigenbaum stresses that his programme is not for at-risk teens, it is not kiruv nor is it aimed at students looking to reject Torah values. It is for the mainstream, regular, Bais Yaakov girl, to provide her with tools for her own growth in avodas Hashem in today’s world.
The community looks forward to welcoming Rabbi Feigenbaum to London in the near future.