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Rav Yerachmiel Shlomo Rothenberg zt”l

Tuesday March 5, 2013 5:01 AM - 19 Comments

rav-yerachmiel-shlomo-rothenberg[Levaya hookup info below.] It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rav Yerachmiel Shlomo Rothenberg zt”lrosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Zichron Mayir of Mountaindale, at the age of 71. Rav Rothenberg had battled illness for the last year, spending time at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Medical Center in Manhattan and other hospitals. His talmidim and admirers davened fervently for his recovery, but he passed away Monday evening in Lakewood, NJ.

Rav Rothenberg was niftar on 23 Adar, the day of the yahrtzeit of his rebbi, Rav Yehudah Davis zt”l, who founded Yeshiva Zichron Mayir of Mountandale in 1965. Today is Rav Davis’ sixteenth yahrtzeit.

Rav Rothenberg was one of the first four talmidim of the yeshiva and went on to become the rosh yeshiva years later. He indeed merited to carry on Rav Davis’ unique approach to chinuch and producing bnei Torah. As Rav Rothenberg himself once remarked: “Whatever Rabbi Davis gave me, I try to give over to the boys. We put them in an atmosphere where they feel connected and cared for. They know the rabbeim live the life they believe in, and that touches their hearts. For some it takes months, for others it could take years. But we never give up on any of them. Our patience within the structured system always reaches them.”

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Rav Rothenberg’s unbridled ahavas Yisroel and genuine care for every person endeared him to young and old alike, from the talmidim of his yeshiva to anyone else who has had the privilege of knowing him. This was manifest most prominently over the two years prior to this one, whendespite his weakened condition, he consistently put the welfare of others before his own, helping them even when he was physically spent.

Rav Rothenberg led the Yeshiva of Mountaindale, one of the few yeshivos for whom the Catskills is home throughout the year. For many people, the routine of bungalow colony life has included a visit from Rav Rothenberg. However, before Rav Shlomo would begin his rounds Sunday mornings to various bungalow colonies, it would be preceded by a Motzoei Shabbos all-nighter in Woodbourne and other locales, where he’d meet and talk to anyone in need of a smile, a good vort, and a helping hand.

Last summer, Rav Shlomo’s absence was glaring. Recuperating from a series of surgeries, Rav Shlomo was, at the time, at Leisure Chateau in Lakewood, while two of his sons-in-law, Rabbi Shraga Mayir Rosenblum and Rabbi Simcha Allison, stepped in to fill his shoes. The warmth that greeted them when they spoke in their shver’s name blew them away.

“You don’t know what your father-in-law’s visit means to us,” one person remarked at the time.

“We assisted the yeshiva because he was our friend, not someone who came to us for funds,” another person said.

These were just two of the many refrains his sons-in-law became accustomed to hearing over a few weeks.

“Rav Shlomo’s concern for each of us was genuine and sincere,” said Reuvain Federman of Twin Oaks Bungalow Colony. Reb Reuven met Rav Shlomo thirty years ago at Lakeside Villa. “His pashtus and genuineness as a person made him a most unique individual and we all cherished his presence.”

Reb Reuvain recounted that when his wife a”h was ill, Rav Shlomo took a sincere interest in her welfare, constantly asking about her and following up all the time.

The yeshiva Rav Shlomo headed reflected these middos. Talmidim who experienced the rougher side of life and were in need of warmth and extra attention were impacted positively by Rav Shlomo. They realized that Rav Shlomo was genuine. Each bochur knew that the rosh yeshiva was truly looking out for him and tried his hardest to ensure that each one will succeed, no matter what it took.

Those in the Catskills received this warmth as well. Rav Shlomo’s heart was open for all those in the mountains who sought his counsel. No matter the person or the need, Rav Shlomo knew what to say and how to say it.

As this coming summer approaches, the void will be felt more than ever. Youngsters and adults of all ages will miss the presence of that great rosh yeshiva who seemed to understand and care for every human being in a most special way.

The following letter was written by a talmid of Rav Rothenberg when the talmid was honored by the yeshiva dinner. It speaks volumes about the love and care of the rosh yeshiva:

Dear Friend:

A few years back, when I was just a teenager, I thought all I needed to know about Judaism had been covered in my learning years and that the time had come for me to head to work. At that time, I happened upon a strange sight: a bearded rabbi who was playing basketball way beyond any amateur skill. Seems like all his shots managed to make the basket. I stopped to schmooze and play a pickup game with him. And that was when I realized that as amazing as Rabbi Rothenberg’s basketball skills are, more amazing is his skill in making sure that all his actions are aimed at serving Hashem. With precision, with concentration, and with skill, he managed to “sink the ball” each time he did a Mitzva.

I was not walking away from a teacher like that. I requested admittance to the Yeshiva in Mountaindale. The roshei yeshiva made my acceptance contingent upon two clauses, not easy ones. Sometime later, after I had been in the yeshiva for a while, I asked my rebbi why he chose those two things for me to have to do. His reply astounded me. He told me that anything that I would show I was willing to control in my life would indicate I was capable of learning to control all my actions and becoming a pro at serving Hashem. In other words, just as in sports you want to see capability and flexibility in muscle, my rabbeim were showing me in spirituality you have to work out your spiritual muscles and prove them supple and flexible.

The months I spent learning in Mountaindale will stay with me forever. It gave me a basis for building a home that is focused on trying to hit the aim in avodas Hashem with each action. It gave me rabbonim who continue to serve as yoatzim [advisors] to me, always available to answer my questions and to continue to provide me guidance.

At this time, I am humbled to be called upon to accept an honor. I accept, not because I feel I deserve this honor, but because I think it might be an opportunity for me to share this amazing jewel of a yeshiva with my friends and relatives and urge them to help support such a wonderful place. It is my opportunity to show gratitude to the place that set me on the proper path. The honor is not mine, it is the yeshiva’s, and I would be most grateful for all support that helps the yeshiva continue to teach people how to “aim their shots” at kedushah.

It was this kedushah that Rav Rothenberg humbly shared and spread with his cherished talmidim and with the Yidden, of all stripes and from all circles, he came in contact with.

The levaya will take place this afternoon, at 12:30 p.m., at Yeshiva Zichron Mayir of Mountaindale, located at 5 Ronald Tawil Way in Mountain Dale, NY, 12763. Kevurah will follow at the bais hakevaros in Monsey, NY.

The levaya can be heard by calling 559.726.1200 and then entering PIN number 207395.

Yehi zichro boruch.

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}

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19 Responses to “Rav Yerachmiel Shlomo Rothenberg zt”l”

1. Comment from Dovid Bader
Time March 5, 2013 at 7:33 AM

As i read this i cry

It is because of the roshei yeshiva ZAL
that im able to be holding me where i am i met the roshei yeshiva going back 15 years ago i was a little kid of 15 and he took me in with a hug and told me he would take care of me on many occasions taking me out with him just because he knew i needed the brake.

he even came to myt wedding in chicacgo being very sick not telling anyone but i knew

Sitting here writing this brakes my heart cuz all who knew him know what he was the ones who diddnt have the zchus shoul only know that i wash there would be more roshei yeshiova like mine ill give u an exampkle many times i missed shacris uin the morning one morning he came in dovid get up for shacris i turned over
he came back later he said your stiill sleeping instead of going home to eat he said cant beat him join him he went to sleep on the extra bed in the room.

To finalize and end

This time where in know needs rebbi more then ever now he is in shomayim on his well earned place in gan eden

i will miss u so much rebbi your love and caring hug willo be sososo missed

may rebbi be a meiletz yosher for all of us

p.s

may we only share in simchos

besoros tovas

Dovid Bader

2. Comment from is there a phon numnber
Time March 5, 2013 at 8:39 AM

would very much want to be there - is there a number to hear the levaya

3. Comment from mourner
Time March 5, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Bdh reb shlomo was a great tzadik

4. Comment from Former Lakewood
Time March 5, 2013 at 9:11 AM

I was once stuck in the Catskills in the middle of a snowstorm and was unfamiliar with local procedures regarding disable vehicles. Rabbi Rothenberg Zt’l, who barely knew who I was, spent a significant amount of time on the phone, calling various people who were able to help me out. His Ahavas Yisrael, as I saw from the way he treated his bochurim, was outstanding, as he truly cared for each one, no matter how ‘good’ they were. Years later, I met him, and he recognized me immediately. May he be zoche to continue his tradmark Ahavas Yisrael, with love for everyone before the Kisei Hakovod, being a Melitz Yosher for the entire Klal Yisrael

5. Comment from chaskel
Time March 5, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Rav shloma ztl was one of the special people of our dor. His warmth,smile and engaging personality hid his tzidkes. He made everyone want to be closer with yiddidhkeit. His ability to connect with people made each of us proud to know and feel close to him. We were so fortunate to have him join us in the summer and we will truly miss the hug and smile. Rabbosai hold on to eachother,relationships are precious. Achdus,love and caring for a fellow yid has lost a champion. In rav shlomas zechus let us work harder to love a fellow yid. Yehai zichro boruch.

6. Comment from Met him only once
Time March 5, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Can’t stop crying. BD”E

7. Comment from cm
Time March 5, 2013 at 10:50 AM

He was what a Yid is supposed to be. Unlike most of us, he was a man who was not the center of his world. He was a person who lived by principles, even when it was hard…so very hard. Long before he had any titles, he put his own anochi aside and strove to build what he had received from his Rosh Yeshiva. And because he lived his life as he did, he showed us all how to be truly happy. Yehei zichro boruch.

8. Comment from Mendel
Time March 5, 2013 at 12:15 PM

This is such a sad day for Yidden, He was a Gaon and a Tzadik, a selfess person. He was amal and yagea to learn and teach Talmidim how to learn and become Talmidei Chachamim. Ahuv venachmad im habrios. He should be a meilitz Yosher for all of us

9. Comment from rebbe, rebbe ,
Time March 5, 2013 at 2:18 PM

you did so much for me, i never felt i could do enough for you . never felt i could pay you back. i will pay you back rebbe, i will give the boreh nachas, i will follow in your ways, and that will be your payment, you never wanted anything but kovod shomayim, thank you rebetzin, thank you for giving every thing so we could have the rebbe

10. Comment from cm
Time March 5, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Kvurah is scheduled for 5:00 in Monsey on George Rd (may not have heard name of road correctly)

11. Comment from hundreds of thousands of talmidim
Time March 5, 2013 at 2:37 PM

rebbe you have hundreds of thousands of talmidim, for everywhere you went you spread the light of the torah. in the darkest places you shined its light. what you did stays on, even as you take leave of us, we will be strong and remember where we met you , where you came from and what you accomplished. We will learn from you and forever try and emulate you. hatznea leches im elokecha

12. Comment from A Talmid
Time March 5, 2013 at 7:45 PM

What an amazing loss to Klal Yisroel. Rabbi Rothenberg was a man who personified what a true eved of Hashem realy looks like. Even in his greatness he was able to relate to the “lower level”. I have so many wonderful memories from the time I spent at the yeshivah. From the basketball games we played to your unique technique of pitching and throwing out a batter at first base was just a glimpse of how dynamic you were outside of torah. His learning and teaching style so simple and sweet was beautifull to listen to and learn from. His humility was evident as his place in the beis medrash was in the back by the door. Never did he need the kovod all he wanted was kavod shamayim. His smile was radiant I can still see it now so many years later. Rebbe you will be missed! I am lucky to have known you. May your neshama enjoy its reward it deserves.

13. Comment from talmid
Time March 6, 2013 at 9:48 AM

did anyone that was at the levaya ever see so many tears at a levaya???!?!? well most people didnt!!!!!!! rabbi rothenberg was from the gedolei hADOR.rebbi plz daven for us

14. Comment from familly
Time March 6, 2013 at 3:11 PM

THE FAMILLY IS ASKING EVERYONE THAT HAS ANY STORIES, WRITTEN LETTERS OR PICTURES TO PLEASE EMAIL TO RabbiRothenbergMemories@yahoo.com thank u

15. Comment from mboas
Time March 6, 2013 at 10:27 PM

where is the family sitting shiva?

16. Comment from mm
Time March 7, 2013 at 9:46 PM

when everyone said : “no!”, he said : “yes, yes yes…” enough said…

17. Comment from Sruli
Time March 10, 2013 at 12:36 AM

Anyone have any links for audio or video of the levaya?

18. Comment from family
Time March 13, 2013 at 3:47 PM

please keep sending memories and pictures of the rosh yeshiva to rabbirothenbergmemories@gmail.com/yahoo.com thx

19. Comment from chana rachel, sister
Time April 14, 2013 at 9:24 PM

My brother, Tzadik Rosh Yeshiva Yerachmeil Shlomo Rothenberg was born a “Tzadik”

My beautiful brother turned around many lives - boys on drugs, no hope, etc. and then — danced at their weddings –

He was a pioneer in incorporating sports into his Yeshiva - At one time, he was accepted into the major leagues in both basketball and baseball and — even towards the end of his sojourn on earth, he was a better “shot” (in the basket) than his students !

He had the highest grades in Hebrew and his Rebbe at the time was
Rabbi Jacob J. Hecht (at one time, my father was a secretary of Rabbi Hecht’s Shul –

He was accepted into dental school in junior year at college — but opted to be a Rabbi rather than pursue dentistry –

Very few knew about his devastating illness - and the extent of it - even me - as he did not wish to make others feel bad — and -

there’s so much more –

G-d needs to hold him so tight that he will never return to the prison house of a body and stay eternally with our Great Creator — for my brother’s light is needed — to be with the Highest —

sincerely,

his sister, Chana Rachel

jmsyloveus@yahoo.com

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