The story of this book’s origins is one that deserves to be told. 30 years ago, I began my communal life as Assistant Rabbi in Brith Shalom Beth Israel Congregation in Charleston, South Carolina. You may be surprised to find out that BSBI, founded in 1854, is the oldest continuously active Ashkenazic shul in the United States. Though I had learned through Hilchos Mezuzah, I soon discovered that I was thoroughly unprepared to handle the practical application of these principles arising from the weird and wonderful world of modern architecture.
From that time onward, I have been perplexed by open plan living areas, staircases without walls, sliding glass patio doors and many more puzzling dilemmas. Thankfully, with the help of the several excellent seforim that I was able to consult and the guidance of many rabbonim, I was able to find solutions for many of these halachic problems.
A few months ago, I decided that I was long overdue for a comprehensive review of these important halachos. As I began my research, it occurred to me that I should record the halachic solutions to these common conundrums and put a small illustration next to each one. The only obstacle to accomplishing this cunning plan was my inability to draw!
The Illustrator: Gil Meir Jankelow (M Arch Prof)
That’s when I made a call to R’ Gil Meir Jankelow, presently an avreich in Mir Yerushalayim, who I knew was an accomplished architect here in South Africa. Gil Meir, ‘Gareth’, and his family have been members of my Ohr Somayach Sandton community from its inception and we had worked together on various projects over the years.
He went to work immediately on the project and his designs will be a tremendous addition to the book!