Rav Pam רב אברהם יעקב הכהן פאם

Mount Judah Cemetery

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Rav Avraham Yaacov Hakohen Pam began his career at Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in 1938, when was appointed maggid shiur (Talmudic lecturer) there, at a time when secularism was on the rise in the United States, even amongst Orthodox Jews. In 1943 he married Sarah Balmuth.

During Rav Pam's sixty-plus years at Torah Vodaas he held many positions. He even taught mathematics in the Yeshiva, utilizing his degree from City College. For many years in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s he delivered the semicha class to students studying toward rabbinic ordination.

Rav Pam's dress was unassuming; he preferred modern short jackets and Fedora hats to the more traditional long frock coat and Homburg hat generally worn by heads of Yeshivas. While Pam was respected as a great talmudic scholar within Yeshiva circles, he was widely admired for his humility and soft-spoken style.

Rav Pam was a vocal supporter of yeshiva education for non-religious Russian immigrants to Israel through the work of his organization called Shuvu. At the keynote session of the annual 1990 Agudath Israel convention Rav Pam spoke impassionedly about the flood of new Jewish emigrants from the Soviet Union, and his concern that their children were growing up oblivious to their religious heritage. He argued that a network of schools should be set up in Israel for those emigrants, and organized a meeting of wealthy and influential participants at the convention to facilitate that vision, appointing Avraham Biderman as the chair of Shuvu, the organization founded at that meeting.