Kosher holidays let us immerse ourselves in the stories of the past, from events in antiquity to stories that have occurred near modern times. Our previous travels have covered much ground in terms of Jewish heritage, and have explored the influence of various events and individuals in the modern day.
It’s marvellous to imagine how the actions of the past can still be felt in the future. For example, the Bais Yaakov schools of today would not have been established if not for Sarah Schenirer, who lived in Poland all those years ago.
The Life of Sarah Schenirer
Sarah Schenirer was born in Krakow in 1883, to influential Hasidic rabbinical parents. She grew up quite faithful, studiously reading religious texts provided by her father and earning the moniker “little pious one” from her peers. She grew up to be a seamstress, but was dissatisfied with what she considered a lack of lasting Jewish education for girls. This, along with the influence of Rabbi Moshe Flesch’s words (which stressed the importance of Jewish women in Jewish history), stirred her to action.
In 1917, when her family returned to Poland, Sarah established the Bais Yaakov School, with twenty-five pupils. Her school for Jewish girls flourished and grew, and eventually others would approach her for help in establishing their own schools. This would lead to the Bais Yaakov School network, which aimed to bring education to Jewish girls in Poland. Sarah Schenirer’s life was fulfilling, and although she died of cancer in 1935, her influence remains today, as the Bais Yaakov still persists to the modern day.
A Legacy of Education
Today, the Bais Yaakov has branches all over the world, providing education for Orthodox Jewish girls everywhere. Sarah Scheniner’s legacy of piousness bore much fruit, and even today she is honored for her role in Orthodox Jewish tradition.
While we may visit grand synagogues and other places on our kosher Europe tours, even the most visible Jewish institutions of learning have a rich history to them.