The Distinction of Slonim - Introducing Rabbi Yaacov Yisroel Bar-Chaiim
I'd like to introduce you to a new friend, a Slonimer Chossid – Rabbi Yaacov Yisroel Bar-Chaiim.
R' Yaacov was born and raised in the Mojave Desert, California. Nearly thirty years ago he studied Comparative Religion at U.C. Berkeley and then came to Israel "to learn at least as much about my own religion as I knew about others." He never went back.
R' Yaacov became a close talmid of HaRav Nachman Bulman, zts"l, learning and living in his community in Migdal HaEmek for six years, picking up his breadth-and-depth approach to Yiddishkeit as well as his great love for the sefer Nesivos Sholom, by the previous Slonimer Rebbe, ztsvk"l. He went on to Bar-Ilan University to study Educational Counseling and Jewish Philosophy, began working in various high schools and became progressively enraptured by the Nesivos.
Thirteen years ago he moved to the Jerusalem satellite of Telz Stone where the Rebbe often visited. Somehow he managed to meet with the Rebbe, within one of the last meetings he'd have with "outsiders". His life has never been the same. Over the next few years he traveled to Tischim in Jerusalem, sent his sons to the Jerusalem cheider and five years ago brought the entire family to join the community.
R' Yaacov has lectured frequently at the OU Jerusalem center and written a book about Rav Bulman (not yet published). He is presently completing a book called "The Unbelievable G-d: A Discovery of the PROCESS of Belief", based largely on Slonimer Chossidus, and is in urgent need of a sponsor for this book. (any ideas of how to help?)
Over the next three days, I will be featuring R' Yaacov's response to my question regarding the Slonim approach to Chassidus.