Advanced in years, Rabbi Dr. Yehuda Bohrer, of blessed memory, passed away on Shabbat. He and his wife Helen were among the original founders of the town Bet El, living in an army camp under minimal conditions. Rabbi Bohrer was a renowned tour guide and speaker, and worked on behalf of Yeshivat Bet El since its founding 40 years ago.
Rabbi Bohrer dedicated his life to the success and building of Bet El Institutions, dedicating his talents and wisdom to furthering the blossoming of Bet El up to and including the last weeks of his life.
Based on this 1964 NYT article about his being the first Israeli to receive rabbinical ordination at Yeshiva University, Rabbi Bohrer must have been 87 years old:
I knew Rabbi Bohrer. In 2007, when he was 76, he acted as an unpaid tour guide for my family in Israel, and his encyclopedic knowledge of the land, or archaeology and geography, as well as of the Tanach (Hebrew scriptures) gave us a side of Israel we could never have seen otherwise.
He took us to Tzfat (Safed,) Tiberias, Hebron, Jerusalem, the memorial of the slain girls by a Jordanian soldier at the site of the Island of Peace massacre, the tomb of the prophet Samuel right after it was attacked and vandalized by Arabs, his beloved Bet El, Masada and the Dead Sea.
Rabbi Bohrer was a scary driver but his love for Israel was total. He literally dedicated his life to the land. He wrote scholarly papers all his life. I just found this video of him giving s lecture a couple of years ago about the transformation of Canaan to Eretz Yisrael:
My family kept in touch with him. He met Mrs. Elder and I other times we visited Israel. He did an enormous favor for me personally that can never be repaid, helping me to purchase my own Holocaust-era Torah (from eBay!) and having a friend of his who is a scribe repair it to make it kosher, and then bringing it personally to America for me, explaining how to care for it.
We saw him nearly every year when he came to America for fundraising, and we discussed projects we wanted to collaborate on, but alas they will never come to be.
May his memory be a blessing.
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