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My Personal Memories of Rabbi Ahron Daum, Shlita as Chief Rabbi of Frankfurt am Main, West-Germany (1989-1992)

10 Tammuz 5773 18 June 2013
My Personal Memories of Rabbi Ahron Daum, Shlita as Chief Rabbi of Frankfurt am Main, West-Germany (1989-1992)

My husband and I met Rabbi Ahron Daum, Shlita in 1989, when he was the Chief Rabbi of Frankfurt am Main, West-Germany, as well as the head of the Beit Din for ‘giur’ (conversion to Judaism). We were stationed in West-Germany with the US Army, and we were pursuing conversion. With the cooperation of our military chaplains, Rabbi Ahron Daum and his wife Rebbetzin Francine Daum made it possible for those of us in the American military community to connect to the Frankfurt Jewish community.
We were both impressed with the effort he went to in helping potential ‘geirim’ of all nationalities to reach their goals with a feeling of truly mastering the required material. Rabbi Ahron Daum put together a detailed syllabus of questions the ger/gyoret would need to master, if he/she would be ready to honestly and fully join the Jewish nation.
Rabbi Ahron Daum seemed to have his hands full in his capacity as Chief Rabbi of Frankfurt am Main. First of all, there were not many religious people in his community. There were those who even resented his efforts to make kosher food available (some of the supervision of which I recall he paid for out of his own pocket) or to renovate the decrepit ‘mikvah’ (ritual bath), even as the Board of the community thought it is more important that gold leaf was applied to the foyer of the synagogue instead of renovating the heavily neglected ‘mikvah’.
I learned that Rabbi Ahron Daum was named Ahron for his grandfather, Hy"d, who was killed in the Shoah. For many reasons, I believe Rabbi Ahron Daum is a credit to his grandfather's memory.
Besides helping ‘geirim’ and leading the large Frankfurt community, Rabbi Ahron Daum introduced a young couple of Lubavitch Shluchim, Rabbi Shneur Zalman Gurevitch, Shlita and his Rebbetzin into the Frankfurt community, thereby increasing Jewish religious activities for the youth and broadening the availability and styles of learning in the Frankfurt community. Surely he acted out of love for increasing ‘Yiddishkeit’ in the Jewish community of Frankfurt am Main.
There was no ‘eruv’ in Frankfurt; so it must have been extremely difficult for Rabbi Ahron Daum and his Rebbetzin Francine with three small daughters, to attend shul as a family and strolling certainly on the Sabbath. Nonetheless, Rabbi Ahron Daum made it possible for my husband and me and other American military service members to experience as full a Jewish life as possible in post-war Germany -- a miracle of hard work and dedication!
We who had the privilege of working with Rabbi Ahron Daum were grateful for his facile ability in English (as well as German and Hebrew), his humor, and his ‘ahavat Yisrael’ (love of a fellow Jew). We warmly recommend Rabbi Ahron Daum’s excellent guidance and teaching qualities to any fellow Jew or student of Judaism specifically who wish to become Jewish.

Ruth Eastman
Neve Daniel, Israel

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