Rabbi Dovid Kaminetsky z”l

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It is with great sadness that Matzav.com reports the passing of Rabbi Dovid Kaminetsky z”l.

Rabbi Kaminetsky’s career in Jewish education included serving as principal of the Moriah School in Englewood, Manhattan Day School, director of Camp Mogen Avraham, National Director of NCSY, and most recently associate principal of Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey.

He was the father of Katz Yeshiva High School Executive Director Shimmie Kaminetsky, Hebrew Academy of Long Beach (HALB) Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky, HALB Early Childhood Director Lisa Zakutinsky and Teaneck Bergenfield community member Daniel Kaminetsky, esq.

The levaya was held last week at Congregation Bnai Yeshurun, followed by kevurah at Eretz HaChaim Cemetery in Bet Shemesh, Israel.

5tjt.com

Rabbi Avi Bernstein wrote the following tribute for Jewish Link NJ:

The word legend has several definitions. In its noun form, it is used either to relate a story, portrays an extraordinarily famous individual or detail an inscription, especially on a coin or medal. As an adjective, legend describes someone well-known. Rarely, though, can one find a person or entity that would deserve the title “legend” for all of these definitions. However, I can attest having known only a single person thus far in life who richly deserves such a title: Rabbi Dovid Kaminetsky, z”l.

One cannot simply throw a few descriptions, kind words and generous gestures together to pay tribute to a man who was the face of formal and informal Jewish education for generations. One cannot simply toss a few thoughts together in an attempt to properly chronicle a lifetime of compassion, dedication and utter selflessness to scores of children. It is, indeed, impossible to fully encapsulate what Rabbi K meant to me nor the limitless people he encountered or countless lives he touched. But yet, his life of devotion demands an attempt nonetheless. For his sake, for his merit, I will try.

The Mesillas Yesharim opens his epic work as follows: “I have composed this work not to teach people what they do not know but to remind them of what they already know and which is very familiar to them.” I firmly believe that these words also illustrate Rabbi Kaminetsky, z”l, perfectly. We all had the same impression of him; nothing deviates from the simple truth that was Rabbi Kaminetsky, z”l. And perhaps, that is the best description of him: simple.

His simple smile. His simple words of kindness and interest in the lives of others. His simple style of education based on the foundations Chazal had taught us for ages—love for children.

Isaac Newton once reflected, “Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” In an age of complexity, endless immersion in nonstop engagement and unrelenting stimulation in our ever-expanding digital lives, Rabbi Kaminetsky, z”l, was the face of simplicity. Or as da Vinci stated, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. In that case, Rabbi K was the ultimate sophisticate. His simplicity characterized the way in which he spoke, the way in which he interacted with others, and the way in which he taught. He simply led by example.

His simple style was a method not easily developed and is one that is surely not easily replicated. He spoke from the heart and felt the pain of others. A tear for a tragedy. A tear for the plight of another. But this simplicity enabled him to feel the joy for others. His simple dance at each and every bar mitzvah, hands and feet rising with fervor. His simple words of appreciation and praise. “In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity,” Henry Longfellow wrote. In character, in manner, in style, in all things, Rabbi Kaminetsky’s simplicity was excellence.

Over the past few days, moving past Rabbi Kaminetsky’s tragic loss has been difficult. When I hear steps outside my office, I raise my head expecting to see him. When I walk past his office, I turn expecting to see my friend’s face. There is a void, one that is not limited to the hallways of RYNJ, not limited to Jewish education but to the Jewish world in general. Perhaps, though, his passing implores us to recognize the loss of his simplicity, and learn to emulate his ways by simplifying our educational styles and our interactions with others. If there is something I have learned from my dear friend over these past few years, it is to live life more simply. One mustn’t become overwhelmed by passing frustrations, rather learn to understand the frustrations of others. Simply help everyone you can, and simply love anyone you think you can’t. Anything less is to simply miss the remarkable message of this legend in our lifetime.

Moving on without him will not be simple at all.

My friend, we all terribly miss you.

{Matzav.com}

11 COMMENTS

  1. Boruch Daiyan HaEmes!!

    You mentioned who he was the FATHER of; could you please relate who he was the SON of? Was he a descendant of the one of the top Gedolay HaDor Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky, ZT’L? If so, which son of Rav Yaakov was he from? Was he a son of that son, or a grandson of that son? Please elaborate. Thanks.

      • They were first or second cousins, and proof that yichus is sometimes actually hereditary. Obviously their mutual ancestors were tzadikim whose beautiful middos are still being passed on down the line.

  2. I grew up in Teaneck in the early 70s, and I remember Rabbi Kaminetsky very fondly. In many ways, he is responsible for who I am today – despite never having been his student!
    As a child, I learned how to grow Aravos – although I never succeeded. A couple of years later Rabbi Kaminsetsky asked me if I knew how to grow Aravos. I said that I did and explained the method to him. His Aravos flourished beyond all belief. Rabbi Kaminetsky thanked me and invited my father to take Aravos every year. Other than seeing him regularly in shul, that was my only connection to Rabbi Kaminetsky.
    Years later I was learning in Israel, and I was miserable. I traveled to Jerusalem to search for another yeshiva to attend. After having given up, I got on a bus to go back to the Yeshiva in which I was unhappy. And there he was! Rabbi Kaminetsky and his family were spending the year in Israel. I said hello, and he asked me why I was so down. I told him. He listened sympathetically, and told me about Yeshiva Neveh Yehoshua. I was ready to check it out immediately, but he insisted that I come to his house for dinner.
    I wound up learning in Neveh and then in their Kollel after I got married.
    I ran into him in shul about a year ago and thanked him again.
    He will be sorely missed.

  3. Reb Dovid was the son of Rabbi Joseph Kaminetzky, father of chinuch in North America and a truly great individual in his personal life as well.

    • and B”H the family Mesorah continues with his children and grandchildren – B”H
      his sister, Nechama Kaminetsky Steinhardt

  4. He was also the camp director in Mogen Av for many years. A warm and caring person who always had a big smile and sholom aleichem for everyone. Shimmie was my bunkmate for many summers.

  5. A close friend during the late 50’s and 60’s in boro park–I never understood why his father Dr joe Kaminetsky spent much time out of town. Only later in life did I truly understand that he was one of the driving forces behind the Hebrew Day school movement across America. He was there helping to organize and get the day school movement rolling threat america.

    As for David—he was my best friend for many years. When I would set up to sell at YNJ he always made it his business to come down and schmooze and give me my hug.He will always be remembered with love.Murray Goldwag

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