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Description

The draft of a two page letter sent by Rabbi Asher Grunis to an Editor, whom we have been unable to identify. 27th Sivan would have been 28 June in 1935. This letter provides us with biographical information, which has previously been a source of confusion.

Transcript:
Rabbi Asher Grunis
21, De Burgh Street
Cardiff

27th Sivan 1935

Dear Editor,

I shall gladly comply with your request to let you know the story of my life.

I was born in the city of Pietrokov, Poland, in the month of Sivan 1877. I grew up and studied in Kalish, Poland and was ordained as Rabbi at the court house of the famous Rabbi Shimshon Ornstein of blessed memory. My first rabbinic position was in the town of Wiltchin, in Kalish district. I came there in the year 1902 and remained until 1921, when I became a Rabbi of Cardiff in England.

I wrote original remarks on Halachic and Aggadic literature calling my book PREE-ASHER but as yet I have not published the above. However, while I was a Rabbi in Wilchin, excerpts of the book’s material and Responsa were printed in the monthly magazine “Shaarei Torah“, edited by the well-known Rabbi Isaac Feigenbaum of B. M. [Blessed Memory] While in Cardiff I contributed occasionally to the “Jewish Chronicle“ defending to the best of my ability the Orthodox point of view against those people who dared to question certain passages in the Talmud which according to their so called modern view were incompatible with reality. At the same time I strongly defended the traditional Torah law concerning “Agunoth” (wives of missing men) against the so-called “Liberals” who wanted to release the women without a Rabbinic Get (Bill of divorce) and my words made a great impression at the time.

I wish to add that while being a Rabbi in Wiltchin, I performed a number of benevolent services, for the community and the individual alike. I built in this very small town a Synagogue, a Beth Madrash [study hall] and a modern mikveh [ritual bath]. I was in constant contact with the military commander and thus saved a great many members of my congregation who because of utmost poverty were smuggling goods from nearby Germany. I prevented them from being imprisoned. When the German soldiers occupied our town during world War I, a young man was arrested smuggling grain. This man was the sole supporter of his widowed mother and his sister. In spite of great difficulty I managed to go to Warshaw where with the help of a high ranking Jewish official the Governor-General pleaded the case. They sent a telegram to release the offender with a small fine to be paid in installments. At any rate, after a short while the Germans evacuated Poland and the young man did not pay anything.

Here in Cardiff, I pleaded with the Board of Education to permit the Jewish girls and boys to leave school on short Fridays an hour before sunset and the authorities complied with my request. They also agreed that Jewish students should not be forced to take exams on Saturdays and Jewish Holy days. The above concession was published in the magazine of the “Sabbath Observers Congregation in Berlin.

In conclusion, I am a grandson of the famous Rabbi Velvel of Lusk of Blessed Memory. On my maternal side I am a great nephew of the Grand Rabbi of Gur, who was a great scholar.

Respectfully yours,
(Signature)

This letter was kindly lent by a family member.

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