Reb Yochenen Beck A”H - Part II of II
The Lubavitche Rebbe patronised the restaurant and forged a longstanding Kesher with his father, as well as the Rebbes of Wiznits, Dej, Tchakov and other Rabbonim who were involved in Hatzola work, like R’ Yaakov Griffel ZT”L (see: Dateline Istanbul, ArtScroll, N.Y. 1993). In those post-war days, they all had a lasting impact on the young boy, who reminisced about his encounters with these great personalities at every occasion.
In 1949 the family moved to Eretz Yisroel by way of Italy and after a short stay at the Atlit absorption centre settled in Jerusalem where the father Reb Mordche Elyokim started his Carmel restaurant anew.
As the old Knesset building was in close proximity, young Yochenen who was by now a young Bochur, was privileged to serve the Frum dignitaries who served as Shliche deRabonon on behalf of the Mo’etzes Gedolay HaTorah of Agudas Yisroel. His father used to take the children to visit all the Gedolim he was acquainted with from the pre-war years, when he was active in Vienna at the Kenesyah Gedolah. This is how young Yochenen came face to face with Imray Emes, the Rebbe’s of the Ruzin dynasty and others.
His lifelong influence however was no doubt his Rebbe, the Belzer Rov, Reb Aharon ZT”L, whose image he carried in his heart wherever he went. At every opportunity he spoke about the Rov ZT’L regaling his listeners with stories, anecdotes and Minhogim that he witnessed first-hand or heard from others. Reb Yochenen was a storehouse of historical facts, especially about Rebbes, Chasidim, Rabbonim and Kehillos of the pre-war years.
In 1955 they returned to England and arrived in Letchworth and later Reb Yochenen came to London where he davened in Rav Klughaupt and later in the first Bobov shul in Darenth Road which was just a few doors away from their home.
In 1962 he married his wonderful Eishes Chayil – Hadassah Schachter from Antwerp and they settled in Stamford Hill for the first 14 years where he davened for the Amud on Yomim Noroim in ’Zeirei Aguda - 95’ and then in the Tzcaba Beis Midrash. In 1977 they moved to Golders Green where he joined the Hager’s Beis Hamedrash as a Ba’al Tefillah on the Yomim Noroim for over 30 years, and served as a Gabbai there for over ten years, he spearheaded the enlargement of the old Shul, demonstrating vision to foresee the fast-paced growth of the Kehillah and the courage to see it through.
|The dais at the Sh’loshim event|
For the last eight years he enjoyed the Shabbos and Yom Tov Tefilos in Khal Chasidim by Rabbi Yitzchok Eliezer Brief Shlit”a. This is also where he left his precious Sefer Torah he spent many years saving for that was written a few years earlier by the son in law of Rabbi Hager. Upon retiring he wouldn’t allow boredom creep into his life so he took up the position at the local Seforim shop, where he started a new career as a sales assistant – doubling as a social and Kiruv worker: many unbelievable stories are making the rounds how he saved a Jewish girl from a monastery, how he helped bring about a Shidduch for someone who was given up upon and the person who came from rural England and visited Shul - having been absent for over 50 years – to mention but a few.
Reb Yochenen also started a shiur for senior citizens in Hager’s under Rav Schmahl and Rabbi Firestone Shlit”a, which - 17 years later - is still going strong.
His passion for Jewish music and Nusach brought him in contact with many Chazzanim and he liked to teach us the age-old songs that he brought with him from the old world. His collection of records and tapes attest to the fact that he lived in world of Tefillah and Neginah – he could tell the exact time and place when and where he heard a song for the first time and by whom it was sung.
His family and friends will always remember his charm and harmless wit, the uplifting smile that was a constant companion and his respect for every human being – no matter.
He always had Seforim to hand and enjoyed his learning tremendously.
As Reb Yochenen’s health deteriorated he still went every day to shul with great Mesiras Nefesh and always had a good word or story for young and old with a twinkle in his eye.
Reb Yochenen and YL”T his wife had an open house where they hosted many Choshuve Rabbonim and prominent guests from overseas and welcomed fundraisers with a compassionate smile many - who became lifelong friends.
He always carried a smile on his face whatever the situation, generating Simcha with young and old. He had such a great love for everyone, which went bi-directional: people had a special affinity for him, looking after him as he came and went to and from Shul, lending a helping hand when he too weak to walk by himself.
For many years he bore all his Yesurim Be’ahavo – with such love towards the Ribono Shel Olam. His legacy will forever continue and he’ll be sorely missed.
The Sh’loshim was marked with a Siyum on Shisha Sidrai Mishnah at Khal Chassidim shul, which was attended by over 200 participants. Droshos were given by the Rabbi Y. M. Rosenbaum the Gerrer Rosh Yeshiva Shlit”a, Rav Brief Shlit”a and by his nephew R’ Menasche (Scharf) Beck of South Tottenham in North London. May he be a Melitz Yoisher for his Eishes Chayil, daughters, son-in-law and grandchildren.