Baltimore, MD - May 28, 2024  - There is an aura of excitement at Bais Yaakov of Baltimore Lower Elementary School, as the first graders have just begun learning Chumash.  While haschalas Chumash is always a very exciting time, this year, the occasion included a unique element, as the girls received a custom printed, specialized Chumash – created just for them.

Rabbi Yitzchok Sanders, Menahel of the Bais Yaakov Lower Elementary, explained, “We used to give out a soft covered, homemade Chumash, with coil binding, to the first graders.  These included the parshiyos of Bereishis and Noach, typeset in a manner that was easy to follow. The pages contained only the words of the Chumash, with no meforshim, and plenty of whitespace. There was no need to turn the page in the middle of a passuk, and the line breaks were consistent with the way the pesukim were translated.”

The first grade moros always wanted the introduction to learning Chumash to be clear and easy to learn. Their talmidos had just learned to read and, with this Chumash, it was easier for them to read the pesukim fluently. The only problem was that the girls wanted a real sefer, a “real” Chumash, and they would ask their moros when would they receive one.

This dilemma bothered Mrs. Rivky Brecher, limudai kodesh coordinator, who discussed the matter with Rabbi Sanders. “Why not create our own Chumash?” Rabbi Sanders responded.

Mrs. Brecher began doing some research, and ultimately, contacted the Machon Tiferes division of BP Print Group in Lakewood, where Rabbi Meilech Nussbaum, director, eagerly undertook the project.

Rabbi Aaron Gross, director of development, reached out to grandparents to help sponsor the Chumashim for their granddaughters’ classes, and received a very enthusiastic response. “Bais Yaakov is a trailblazer for this brand new, exciting project.” Rabbi Gross noted.  “People jumped at the opportunity to dedicate the Chumash in memory of their loved ones.”

Bais Yaakov worked together with Rabbi Nussbaum to develop a Chumash customized to their specifications, with a beautifully designed cover, embossed with the Bais Yaakov of Baltimore logo on both the cover and the spine.

“The Chumash is mamash magnificent,” enthused Rabbi Sanders.  “This is something the children will keep and cherish for a long time. We are very excited about this project and are eager to share this concept with other schools, l’shem ultiferes, so that they can do the same.”

Rabbi Meilech Nussbaum shared his perspective. “When Bais Yaakov approached me to help them print this Chumash, I thought it was a brilliant idea. I am often asked to compile booklets with spiral binding for various mosdos, and while these sefarim are functional, they are not very pretty.  If other mosdos would copy this concept, and print customized sefarim with their school logo, it would be a great source of pride for the students and for the schools, and the sefarim will be treated with much more kavod. I am impressed with Bais Yaakov of Baltimore, and the time and effort they are willing to invest into their curriculum and the success of their students.   I can only imagine that the girls will learn well from their new Chumashim.