This past week, Oholei Torah lost a long-time former Rebbi, Rabbi Chaim Burston a”h. Rabbi Burston was a beloved Rebbi in Oholei Torah for many years before he moved to Los Angeles, where he continued his role in Chinuch. Rabbi Burston was most devoted to his Talmidim; his chinuch and abundance of energy extending far beyond his classroom.
His former colleagues reflected on how he thoroughly enjoyed the world of Chinuch and how dedicated he was. Being that he was sought-after by so many parents, he would have one of the largest classes in the school. He went above and beyond the call of duty, often stepping in to help fellow teachers with their students as well.
“He was such a kind and happy person, always ready to help and to be there for anyone who needed anything,” shares Rabbi Hershel Lustig, Dean Emeritus, “I particularly remember how he incorporated art into his lessons, using pictures to bring new dimensions to concepts and ideas. It even affected the way he taught writing. As a first grade Rebbi, literacy was a central focus in his class and all his Talmidim came out with beautiful handwriting.”
Hundreds of Talmidim recall fond memories of their time in his class, often sharing how they felt privileged and excited to be in his class. Even at such a young age, they understood it was an honor and that his was a special class to be in. Rabbi Yehoshua Lustig remembers his time in first grade as choshuv. “He used to bring his microphone and tape recorder and record the stories he told us in class. It made us feel really special to be in the famous Rabbi Burston’s class.”
Rabbi Burston was famous the world over for his storytelling. During lunchtime at Oholei Torah, he captivated the entire dining hall filled with Talmidim which brought stories of Rebbeim, history, and sipurei chassidim to life. They were then produced as Rabbi Chaim Burston’s cassette tapes, and made available at a time when Jewish tapes and content for children were scarce. In fact, many of the stories were recorded in Oholei Torah.
Rabbi Burston stood out as a Chossid, and one most devoted to the Rebbe. He was a very dear member in our community and will be sorely missed.