Rabbi Braverman’s Story

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I was a philosophy major at Yale University. In 1978, I went to a kibbutz in Israel – not because I was Jewish (I had never even been bar mitzvahed) but because I had been studying communism in college and wanted to experience living in a socialist environment.

After some time on the kibbutz, I took a few days off to visit Jerusalem. I found myself standing at the Wall – looking at it with no idea what it was – when a religious gentleman (who I eventually learned was Meir Schuster) walked up to me and asked “Would you like to meet a Jewish philosopher?”. I accepted the offer and was taken to hear a class being given by Rabbi Noach Weinberg at Aish HaTorah. When the class was over, I tried to leave but Reb Meir button-holed me again and suggested that I go to someone’s house for Shabbos. I agreed. This was all fine and good but after Shabbos I went back to my kibbutz.

At the end of the summer I found myself in Jerusalem with no place to stay and nothing to do. I was standing on a corner, trying to decide where to go. I turned around and there was Reb Meir. This time it didn’t take much to convince me to stay at Aish HaTorah for a while. I stayed for 5 years and became a rabbi.