|The concept of Ozar Hatorah began to emerge in the aftermath of the Holocaust, as the full dimensions of that unspeakable horror became known to the Jewish people and their spiritual leaders. Fully one third of world jewry was wiped out, and, with them, the great centers of Jewish learning in Eastern Europe which had been nurtured for many centuries.Many of the brightest stars in the firmament of Jewish culture were forever extinguished, and the burden of replacing them fell upon Shamah. proportionately fewer shoulders|
|In this truncated Jewish world, attention focused on the Sephardic communities of North Africa and the Middle East. At the time, there were about one million Jews living in an arc stretching from Morocco on the Atlantic to Iran in the Persian Gulf. These were ancient communities, heirs to a glorious tradition. The golden days of Sephardic culture took place when Arab civilization was in the ascendant. The decline of that civilization took its toll on the Jewish communities living in its midst. By the middle of the 20th century these communities were stagnating in a culturaland economic backwater|
|In 1940, Isaac Shalom formed the comimittee to save these "Forgotten Million." Five years later, the first official committeefor Ozar Hatorah was set up in Jerusalem under the chairmanship of Mr. Joseph Shamah.|
The golden days of Sephardic culture took place when
Arab civilization was in the ascendant.
The decline of that civilization took its toll on the
Jewish communities living in its middle of the
20th century these communities were stagnating in
a cultural and economic backwater.
|At the very beginning, Ozar Hatorah started operating in what was then Palestine, opening 29 schools there. After the establishment of the State of Israel, the government assumed full responsibility for most primary school education and Chinuch Atzmai emerged as the custodian of most religious schooling. At this point, Ozar Hatorah ceased its operations in the Holy Land. It made a fundamental decision: Its mission lay outside of Israel, in those areas of the Diaspora where Jewish education was lagging or non-existent. It strove to fulfill the Talmudic saying loosely translated as, "Where there is a void, strive to fulfill the void."|