Lakewood: A Message from Dr. Kasriel Roberts


dr-casriel-rich-robertsDear Friends of the Lakewood, NJ, community,

For Purim night, I will be giving tzedakah checks at our shul, Kollel Ner Avrohom, Inc. (KNA) on the corner of Case Road and Arbutus Dr. Here are the details: 1. Checks will be written as $25 per person with a maximum of $250 per group.

2. There will be six professional security guards to supervise KNA activities on Purim night.

3. There will be live music and food at KNA. All activities will start at 9:30 PM. Checks will end at 1 AM but dancing can continue until 2 AM.

4. There will be a member of our Kehila dispensing alcohol with a security guard supervising that function. No alcohol will be given to minors. No alcohol will be given to adults who appear overtly intoxicated.

5. The Ezras Noshim will be open with security guards to prevent any men from going to the second floor where the women will be.

6. There will be a second reading of the Megilla for women in the basement at 8:45 PM. After that, women should either exit the shul or go to the second floor to watch the dancing.

7. I will not be discussing tzedakah with anyone on Purim.

Those collecting tzedakah will have to fill out a very short form at the shul’s men’s entrance then proceed to the Bais Medrash for food and dancing, the checks will be filled out by staff, and the checks will then be sent to the KNA Bais Medrash to be distributed while people dance. I will be in the Bais Medrash dancing.

On Purim day, I will not be receiving tzedakah collectors. I want you to know that I feel very badly about this and I feel very conflicted over it.

For many years, I have pushed myself beyond exhaustion giving tzedakah on Purim. Over most of the last 10 years or so, on Purim afternoon, I collapsed with severe exhaustion.

For example, a few years ago, a friend of mine came to my home and found me lying on my couch on Purim afternoon, around 3 PM, with my limp arm hanging on the floor. He laughed and said “I see that someone started drinking early”. I told him that I had not consumed even one drop of alcohol.

By Purim afternoon, I am typically so fatigued that I literally, truly, can’t move my arms or legs. The fatigue has been painful. I mean this literally. I have been in pain from the level of fatigue. I have not attended any Purim parties. I have not attended any large Purim seudas. I have not gone with my sons to their Rebbes. I have not been able to visit with most friends and relatives. I have been a “tzedakah machine”, fending off pressing crowds, then I have collapsed Purim afternoon which ended my Purim activities for that year.

Last year for Purim, due to the stress in my life, I did not receive tzedakah collectors. I had a very new and unique experience (for me). I enjoyed Purim. I was asking friends if this is what happens for other people on Purim. I actually enjoyed myself. Instead of being a check-factory, I had an enjoyable time and I did not collapse on Purim afternoon. I did not deal with crowds of people pressing me. I did not deal with attempting to distribute one check every minute over a 10 hour period. I actually enjoyed Purim. I also saw what happens on Purim around Lakewood whereas I had only seen the inside of a few rooms of my home for many years of Purim before that.

Therefore, this year, I am going to try to strike a balance between a highly organized and supervised check-writing Purim night and then enjoy Purim day with my family, relatives, and friends. Part of me feels very badly about this, like I am letting down the Kehila, but there is only so much that I can do. I beg for your understanding and your forgiveness.

I wish you a Freilechin Purim.

Kasriel Roberts (a.k.a. Rich Roberts; Richard H. Roberts, M.D., Ph.D.; Dr. Roberts).

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  1. kol hakavod

    for those who don’t know, Dr. Roberts is one of the biggest baal tzedakah in Lakewood.

    He famously hung a check for $1 million on his door for the Lakewood Yeshiva

  2. You are truly a Tzadik. Thank you for everything you do for our community. May you only blessed with everything good.

  3. keep up the good work
    i am thinking of traveling in from flatbush just to see this tzaddik help so many people.
    where is this shul located and how long is the wait?

  4. Is there anyway to get a donation without bothering him on Purim? I live in Eretz Yisroel, and would love to get in contact with him, for a donation for the Kollel I learn in.

    Does anyone have his email address? Or know the best way to get in touch with this baal chesed

  5. Is this matzav’s personal version of matanos l’evyonim? Don’t think you were yotzei. What next? Mrs. Schwartz’s overloaded Pesach cleaning schedule with a request for help doing the windows?

  6. You should have a refuah krovah bguf vnefesh so that you can enjoy and be festive.
    Hire a few gaboyim for help with tedakah and you will enjoy yourself

  7. How sad that security guards are needed at a shul on Purim. How good is Dr. Roberts for continuing to give so much tzedakah even though he has to set limits to preserve his own health.

    May we merit that next year we will all be in a position to give tzedakah generously rather than like this year with so many of us needing it.


  9. kol hakavod to people like Dr. Roberts who give away their hard-earned money to help others who they don’t even know. What a demonstration of ahavas Yisrael. May it bring the Geulah soon.

  10. I join the entire Lakewood Kehilla in saying a big THANKS to R’ Kasriel.
    Hkb”h should give you many more years of being able to help out the Klal and the Yochid.

  11. To anyone who is not from Lakewood, it’s understandable if this sounds strange. But to those who know him and those in the Lakewood community who have personally benefited from his generosity (whether from his tzedaka, his kollel, his gorgeous shul, his incredible free chol hamoed carnival…)it becomes even clearer what an amazing man this is.
    Thanks for sharing.

  12. The mans a Tzadik Nistar I can testify that you dont even begin to know what tzidkus this man has. I was privy to this well before all this started with him & he over extended himself far beyond any Meshulachs wildest dreams. I envy his chelek in gan eden never mind this world.

  13. Thanks so much Dr. Roberts!! I guess this sounds made up if you’re actually not from Lakewood, and you didn’t hear and/or witness the tremendous chessed and tzedaka this special person has done and given to the community. Worth a trip from anywhere to see his shul and meet him – what an amazing person!

  14. What a stunningly beautiful article. As a yeshiva guy I always collected from neighbors (I lived right next to a very wealthy community). These people were always fun and lively, normal people. On purim they looked like they had been run through the grinder and spit out a shel of themselves. They literally sat there with a binder of checks and wrote checks the entire day.

    Kol hakavod. I recall a gvir in Lawrence doing something similar. He was away (I believe at a simcha or in EY) for purim and didn’t want to miss out of giving to collectors, so he hired a couple of yeshiva guys who needed the money to sit at the gate to his house and give a preset amount to everyone that came.

  15. The truth is that this is reflective of us the community – we care more for ourselves than we do for him. We have driven him near the brink of exhaustion which is wrong. Gvirim are people too and we should not be so selfish. The very fact that he supports the mosdos that we benefit from should be enough.

  16. Dear friends of lakewood, NJ community.

    I think it is time that the whole community to pack up and join us in eretz yisrael. You have built a holy community in america, you are orthodox and dont need the fun pastimes of americans such as amusement parks, theatres, etc. You are living a lifestyle that is holy. So why not do the same thing in jerusalem! Your holiness would be higher naturally and you will fulfill the mitzvah of living here. I want to hear why this community has continued to stay in america. God bless.

  17. For Dr Roberts it is Purim all year round him and his family are non stop chesed machines 24/7 just come to his home and shul in lakewood and you will see for yourself

  18. This is the kind of mechutan I would want for my children.Not that he has money to give. It’s that a baal chessed,a good heart,love of a fellow jew,caring,and immense kindness are what will be passed to down to future generations.
    This is what Rivka at the well showed. Not only did she bring eliezer water at well,but she ran twice to feed his camels water.
    Such a family should be zoiche to bring good generations into this world.

  19. i want to add that every time i am a guest in lakewood he makes sure to personally fine me any other guests a seat in his shul and he always greets with a warm smile-kol hakavod r’ roberts

  20. Dr Roberts has set a standard that should be an inspiration for Klal Yisroel. I am reminded of the description of Rambam, whose schedule included helping Yidden. At a certain point he would be laying down as people still came to him for help.

    Kol HaKovod to a true Gadol, to a Great Mentsch!