The Kosher Bookworm: How students saved the Jewish people


The pride evinced by Dr. David Golinkin about the legacy of his father, Rabbi Noah Golinkin, should serve as a model for all of us who cherish the roles that our parents and grandparents played in the preservation of our people’s legacy in the last century.

“The Student Struggle Against the Holocaust,” by Dr. Rafael Medoff and Dr. Golinkin, is a recently published book that details the lives of three very brave and dedicated rabbinical students of the Jewish Theological Seminary who, during the Holocaust, actively fermented public opposition to Nazi tyranny within the Jewish community. These three students were Jerome Lipnick, Buddy Sacks and Noah Golinkin. Given my personal friendship with Dr. Golinkin this brief review of this excellent work will focus upon his father’s activities.

Noah Golinkin arrived on these shores in 1938, a step ahead of the oncoming Holocaust. He attended the Jewish Theological Seminary and eventually entered the American rabbinate where he served, with distinction, for six decades. Nevertheless, there was to be two years that defined the parameters of his moral compass for all time: his battle against tyranny and injustice.

The accounts in the book about young Noah Golinkin go into great detail describing the horrid and derelict leadership of the American Jewish community during that era. The leadership sought to downplay the murder of European Jewry by deliberate misinforming the American Jewish public. In their small yet determined way Noah and his two rabbinic colleagues launched a movement to counter the conspiracy of silence by informing students at other theological seminaries, such as Yeshiva College, the Jewish Institute of Religion and several Christian seminaries, of the true nature of the Holocaust playing out in war-torn Europe.

This student-based movement faced a determined opposition by those that believed silence would be a more effective means in the battle against Nazism.

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