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Every Stone a Story

Yisroel Besser

When you join Rabbi Binyamin Levene for a walk through Jerusalem’s older neighborhoods, you’ll see the city through the eyes of an American-born teenager, a teenager who delights in the charming eccentricities and wholesome welcome of the unapologetically authentic Jerusalemites. As the cherished grandson of the legendary Rav Aryeh Levin, Binyamin was that teenager. He spent his summers absorbing his grandfather’s city and his love for its people. Decades later, the magic hasn’t faded.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

old jerusalemRav Binyamin Beinush Levene’s Jerusalem office is relatively small, but it feels expansive, even grand. Every inch of wall space is covered with pictures and colors of Old Jerusalem: Images of great men, flags, decals, and handwritten notes, some in childlike scrawl. If an interior decorator would theme this sort of decor, it might be called “Ahavas Yisrael-infused,” emanating love for the Jewish People and homeland.

But Rabbi Levene’s real office is the Jerusalem street, the alleys and paths along which he guides Jews, telling them about so much more than dates and places. His workplace is the narrow strips of road where, as a child visiting from Jersey City, New Jersey, he walked with his hand gripping that of his doting zeideh, Rav Aryeh Levin.

When Rav Aryeh Levin, the legendary “tzaddik of Jerusalem,” first welcomed his American einekel, he recited the brachah of shehechyanu, and then he quoted the words of the pasuk with which Yosef HaTzaddik blessed his younger brother, Binyamin: “Elokim yachnecha bni – Hashem will grant you charm, my son.”

Reb Aryeh’s blessing is evident as you watch Benji, as he is known — a man of charm — walking through the most charming city on earth.

 

 

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