And so there we sat, all through the Sabbath, watching as the synagogue in which we had been imprisoned mere hours earlier was claimed by the flames and, along with all the Torah-scrolls and holy books of both Ruzhan and Govrov, burned to the ground…
Rabbi Shafran’s poignant memories of the lost shul in Ruzhan prompted my brother, Rabbi Shabsai Bulman of Jerusalem, to write:
As a young man, my father, Rav Nachman Bulman ZTL, served as the rabbi of the shul in Danville, VA. Around 1952, a business establishment in Danville, VA, had to clear its basement of the library left behind by a former rabbi. My father was asked to see if he might have use for any of the seforim.
To his surprise, he found a copy of the Alshich HaKadosh that bore the stamp of the Rav R.Weiss of Ruzhan. His mother, my grandmother—Mrs. Ettel Zabeldovich Bulman—was a native of Ruzhan.
Excitedly, my father called his father to ask if he knew that Rav. My grandfather replied, “Of course! He was Mesader Kiddushin at our wedding!”
How did a sefer that once belonged to the Rav of Ruzhan end up in a basement in Danville, VA so as to come into my father’s hands? A mystery.
That sefer is still in our family’s possession. So a few of the holy books of Ruzhan survived. And a few of its living Sifrei Torah survived.
And if their children and children’s children still serve the Ribbono Shel Olam and study His Torah, we can repeat the words of the prayer, “All this has come upon us, yet we have not forgotten You nor falsified Your Holy Covenant.”