About Rabbi Boruch Abaranok
Rabbi Boruch Abaranok was for many years the Rabbi at Mizrachi in Melbourne, Australia. Rabbi Abaranok was a great Talmud Chacham – friendly, kind, beloved in our community. Until the last days of his life he actively gave shiurim, answers to shaalot, and wise advice.
The late Rabbi Boruch Abaranok was born in Mir, Lithuania. Although he had no documentary evidence, he believed that he was born on 5th Iyar, 5671 (1911). The youngest of six children, he was about three years of age when his father, a teacher and Hebrew scholar, was killed during World War 1.
Rabbi Abaranok studied in the renowned Yeshivat Mir, the Radin Yeshiva, headed by the Chafetz Chaim and in the Yeshiva of Baranowicz, under Rav Elchonon Wasserman HY”D, one of the first students of the Chafetz Chaim and a world renowned Talmid Chacham. He received his Smicha (Rabbinical Ordination) from Reb Elchonon.
As his father had died in the Great War, and another war seemed to be on the horizon, Rabbi Abaranok looked for ways to leave Poland. He tried to obtain a permit to enter Israel, but failed. In 1937 he replied to an advertisement seeking a Director for a Jewish orphanage in Wellington, New Zealand. Six weeks later, he received a reply with a permit to enter New Zealand.
In 1953, he and his wife moved to Melbourne where he opened a grocery store and later sold books and religious items. He became a teacher at Hascolah Talmud Torah in Carlton and worked as a poultry shochet for a short period.
In 1961, he was appointed Rav of the Mizrachi Congregation – a position he held with distinction for twenty-five years. During his time as Rav, the Mizrachi Organisation grew in size and respect and Rabbi Abaranok became renowned, particularly for his work in Kashrut. Under his leadership and supervision, the Mizrachi Kashrut Committee was founded and is now the Kosher Australia organisation.
In 1985 the Rabbi retired from Mizrachi and was honoured with a public dinner attended by over 700 people to mark this milestone. The Rabbi Abaranok Award for Torah Studies in Israel, to be awarded each year to assist a needy and deserving Year 12 student to undertake a year of Torah study following the completion of their secondary studies, was instituted by his students and friends.
In his retirement from the active Rabbinate, Rabbi Abaranok continued to undertake a busy programme of private shiurim as well as a daily public shiur in Yiddish at Mizrachi. Rabbi Abaranok passed away on 18th Menachem Av, 5761 (7th August, 2001) and he was buried on Har Hamenuchot in Israel.
Rav Abaranok’s name was ברוך. A more fitting name could not have been chosen. He was blessed and he was a blessing to all of us.