Rabbi Goren (originally Gorenchik) was born in Poland in 1917.  He immigrated to Israel with his family when he was eight years old. Most of his childhood was spent in Kfar Hasidim. His father was one of the founders of the city. When he was twelve years old, he began his studies at the yeshiva of "Chevron" in Jerusalem. Already from an early age, he was considered a prodigy. At the age of seventeen his first book was published, called  "The Crown of Holiness" which contained his own interpretations on Maimonides’ "Mishnah Torah".
The spirit of national-Zionism surged within Goren from a young age. When the events of 1936-1939 broke out, he volunteered for the "Hagana" forces. With the establishment of the State, Goren was appointed the Chief Rabbi of the IDF at the rank of Major-General, and he established the framework for the military rabbinate. He even created the IDF siddur (prayer book) making it suitable for the different versions of prayer belonging to various ethnic groups within Israel.
 In 1961, Rabbi Goren was awarded the Israel Prize for research he had done on the Jerusalem Talmud.  Rabbi Goren held the position of Chief Rabbi of the IDF until 1968, when he took on the position of Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv–Jaffa.  In 1972, he was appointed as the fourth Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, a position which he held for more than ten years, until 1983.   In his later days, Rabbi Goren established a yeshiva next to the Kotel called "Ha'idrah" ("goren", threshing floor, in Aramaic) and was the head of the yeshiva until his death in 1994. 
Despite the tremendous amount that he accomplished in his life, it seems that that specific historic moment at the Kotel is what left a particularly strong impression, both on him and on the public.  We can all imagine the power of that moment, when the Rabbi, surrounded by battle-weary soldiers, marked the momentous occasion of the return of the Kotel to Jewish hands by blowing the shofar.  That symbolic moment left an indelible mark on all who can even imagine it.

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May 2005

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