Sar, Samuel L.
SAR, SAMUEL L.
SAR, SAMUEL L. (Shmuel Leib ; 1893–1962), educator. Sar was born on Shushan Purim in Ligmiany, in what is now Linkmenys, Lithuania. The eldest of six boys, he began his education at the nearby yeshivah of Vidz, later moving on to Ponevich (*Panevezys) yeshivah and a branch of Telz at Shaduva, where he studied for several years with Rabbi Joseph Bloch. After receiving semikhah, Sar was chosen by Rabbi Mayer Tzvi Jung to be trained as a rabbi for communities in the Austro-Hungarian empire and was sent to Vienna to pursue a rigorous program. He later followed Jung to London but ultimately chose to immigrate to the United States, arriving in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1914. His first job was as superintendent of a network of talmud torahs. Simultaneously, he began undergraduate studies at Johns Hopkins and Mount Vernon Collegiate Institute and entered law school at the University of Maryland.
In 1919 he was invited by Bernard *Revel to join the staff of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (the forerunner of Yeshiva University) as a lecturer in Talmud and secretary of the administration. Following Revel's death in 1940 and the accession of Dr. *Belkin to the presidency, Sar was appointed dean of men, a position that reflected his multiple tasks on behalf of the student body. In practice, he was the main address for the students and was considered the institution's ultimate problem-solver, earning him the appellation "Mr. Yeshiva."
Besides his devotion to Torah learning and Jewish education, Sar played a prominent role in Jewish communal affairs in the United States, especially in the post-Holocaust relief and rehabilitation efforts sponsored by American Jewry. In fall 1945, he was sent on behalf of the American Jewish Conference to Europe to visit the displaced persons camps in Germany and present a survey of the Jewish Holocaust survivors and recommendations on how best to provide for their immediate needs. Along with Major Alfred Fleischman and Hans Lamm, Sar served as liaison between the survivors and unrra as part of the efforts of American Jewry to assist the survivors.
In 1948, Sar returned to Europe, this time as director of the Central Orthodox Committee of the Joint Distribution Committee, which was established in 1947 to unify American Jewry's efforts to care for the religious needs of the Orthodox survivors in Europe. A lifelong Religious Zionist, Sar was one of the leaders of the Mizrachi both in the United States and in world Jewish bodies. He served as acting president and chairman of the Vaad Hapoel of American Mizrachi and represented the movement in the Merkaz Olami (world center). He also played an important role in the creation of Bar-Ilan University in Israel with his good friend Pinchas Churgin. Sar's son, Eli Sar, was director of medical services at Yeshiva College and Stern College for close to 50 years; his daughter, Esther Zuroff, was director of student services at Stern College for three decades; and his son-in-law, Rabbi Abraham Zuroff, was the supervisor of all four yu high schools and the principal of yuhsb for 30 years.
[Efraim Zuroff 2nd ed.)]