Rabbi Sholom Death: I observe that a volume of the Talmud is open on Rabbi Sholom Gold’s kitchen table as I enter his Jerusalem apartment at the Beit Tovei Ha’ir retirement facility. Rabbi Sholom Gold’s apartment is located in Jerusalem. I apologize for disturbing his work, and Gold responds with a grin and the statement, “I was just trying to make you feel guilty.”
Gold has been an integral part of the scene in Israel so for many years – as the founding rabbi of Kehilat Zichron Yoseph in Har Nof, founder of the Avrom Silver Jerusalem College for Adults, and as an inspiring spokesman for aliyah – that it is hard to believe that for decades prior to his aliyah, he enjoyed a flourishing rabbinic career, building communities in Toronto and West Hempstead, NY.
In 1959, he established a branch of the Ner Israel Yeshiva in Toronto. In 1971, he became the rabbi of Young Israel of West Hempstead, NY, where he remained until making aliyah in 1982 with his family. Congregation Bnei Torah in Willowdale was founded by him in 1959.
Even more remarkable is the fact that Gold spent a year in Israel in the middle of the 1950s, which was a long time before the concept of a “gap year” was even conceived. After spending the summer of 1955 in Israel to improve his Torah studies, he came back to Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore the following year to finish his education there.
Gold is now an octogenarian, and although he does not move as rapidly as he once did, his eyes still have the youthful and mischievous look that they had when he was younger. Gold traces his proclivities toward Zionism to his father, who was originally from Galicia. Gold was born in the Williamsburg district of Brooklyn, New York.