Sunday, March 23, 2014

Gedolim Albums

Does anyone remember "gedolim albums"? It was a huge trend in the 80's & 90's among Orthodox kids. It was actually started by my 4th grade rebbe, Rabbi Ausfresser, and spread in the Orthodox world in the 80's. He's also the one who took us to meet HIS rebbe, Rav Moshe Feinstein.

The funny thing was, my yeshiva day school wasn't one of the frummer ones in terms of the student body. Most of the kids were Modern Orthodox. But in those days, there wasn't much of a divide betweenModOx and Yeshivish. So it was perfectly natural for ModOx kids to revere the "gedolm" and fill albums with pictures of them.

Of course, for me, "gedolim" meant some men whose identities I was only vaguely aware of. But they appeared in The Jewish Press and in Olomeinu with long beards, black hats, and captions that read "shilita", so they got clipped and stuck in my gedolim album.

It was a simpler Orthodox world back then. No one really used the term "Charedi", and "Yeshivish" was used much more casually. The Modern Orthodox were less modern and the Yeshivish were less... Yeshivish. Today, I can't imagine any Modern Orthodox kids putting together gedolim albums.


  1. It is possible you might not have been aware of the divide? Life was different before the internet brought all news, however minor or far away, into our lives.
    But Gedolim were different back then. Rav Moshe, zt"l, didn't see his job as micromanaging our lives and he didn't have a political side to him. He was asked questions which he answered and he offered his thoughts on sugyos in Chumash and Shas. That's pretty much what he saw his job as. As a result, MO's could relate to him. He was a big Rav, not a political leader of a hostile group.

  2. The fact that you were reading the Jewish Press and identified as Modern Orthodox is significant, I think. There was just less of a divide between the two communities back then.