An Interview With Mr. Chesky Schonberger
Last Tuesday, November 24, was the sad and distressing conclusion to the saga of a meis mitzvah, which had been dragging in the courts ever since Tzom Gedaliah. Mr. Martin Mendelsohn, a resident of Evergreen Court Home for Adults in Spring Valley (formerly Bader’s Inn), passed away on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. His only surviving relative, his brother Steven, who intermarried and rejected his faith, was determined to have him cremated.
Some realities simply defy logic. As much as we try to comprehend them, we cannot wrap our minds around the facts. But since they are facts and not conjecture, we are forced to admit that there is a Higher Power Who makes the impossible happen, as long as we do our share.
The life of Rebbetzin Henny Machlis, who was niftar last Friday at the age of 58, is one such example. Like the famed Rav Meir Shuster, who picked up thousands of lost souls at the Western Wall, Henny was a legend.
One of the most challenging and weighty responsibilities of a writer is that of writing an obituary, which entails trying, in some small measure, to bestow a final kavod upon the departed by summarizing some of his unique qualities.
In this respect, writing this piece was one of my most difficult, perhaps impossible, assignments. How can one encapsulate Reb Yony, one of the most beloved residents of Lakewood, a Yid who was pure heart and neshomah, who lived to bring a smile to another Yid’s face? Reb Yony, who graced this world for 54 years, left a legacy of chassodim that cannot be depicted in a mere article.
Rabbi Jonathon Gewirtz, a regular contributor to the Front Page Magazine, has an expansive smile and a heart as big as Mount Everest. I made his acquaintance a couple of weeks ago, when he personally came to my home on an errand for a friend in Tennessee. Gewirtz regaled us with stories of the people he’s met, the places he’s been, and the hashgochah he personally witnesses all the time.
Those who look for mitzvos tend to find them. The more we chase after chasodim, they more often they will come our way.
Sara Yoheved Rigler’s path took her from India to Israel and Judaism. Her spiritual search first led her to India in 1968. There she studied with a guru, then returned to the U.S. and finished her degree in psychology from Brandeis University. She spent the next fifteen years living in America’s oldest ashram. In 1985, her life dramatically changed. Sara Yoheved moved to Yerushalayim, began studying Torah, and became a baalas teshuvah. In 1987, she married Leib Yaacov Rigler, a musician, composer and arranger. The Riglers, who have two adult children, have lived inside the Old City of Yerushalayim for thirty years.
This past Sunday, a family of black bears, including a mother and three cubs, were found enjoying the beautiful spring weather in Viola Park, Monsey. Within moments, hundreds of onlookers had gathered to gawk at the bears and take pictures. Police were summoned, as were Chaverim volunteers, to deal with this potentially dangerous threat. Yated spoke to Mr. Margareten of Chaverim to get more details.
Several days before the petirah of Rav Yaakov Bistritz zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Gedolah Merkaz Hatorah of Montreal, on Shabbos Parshas Nitzavim-Vayeilech at the young age of 58, he called a renowned posek to ask a shailah. “If I wake up in the middle of the night and my throat is parched, can I take a drink of water without washing negel vasser?”
The rosh yeshiva proceeded to explain that he was too weak to wash his hands on his own and would need to wake someone. He wanted to know what took precedence: washing one’s hands before drinking or not disturbing the rest of another Yid.