NEW YORK - On 28 Kislev, the fourth day of Chanukah, Yeshivah Toras Emes-Kamenitz of Flatbush and the community of Kew Gardens, Queens, bid a tearful farewell to Harav Avraham Respler, zt”l. The niftar was remembered as an educator par excellence who served for over 50 years as a rebbi and later as the Menahel of Toras Emes.
“When you met him, you always got a gut vort and a gut vunch [good wishes],” said Harav Yaakov Zelinger, Rosh Yeshivah, Toras Emes, remembering the niftar’s vast knowledge of Torah and his warm personality.
Born in New York in the early 1930s, young Avraham attended Yeshivah Torah Vodaath, where he merited to study under Harav Shlomo Heiman, zt”l, and Harav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, zt”l.
In the early 1950s, he married Chana Miriam Lamm. Shortly after their marriage, the couple settled in the Kew Gardens section of Queens, where they raised their family and became pillars of the community.
While still in his early 20s, he joined the staff of Yeshivah Toras Emes, at that time one of very few Torah-true mosdos in the Boro Park-Flatbush area. Despite his youth, Harav Respler’s natural talents in the classroom made him a quick success. At different points in his long career, he taught fifth and sixth grades. Harav Respler’s sweet nature, palpable ahavas Torah and capacity for clear explanation inspired generations of talmidim to live as true bnei Torah.
In 1987, he assumed the position of Menahel. In his new capacity, Harav Respler coupled his love for the institution’s students with an absolute dedication to the rebbeim and staff as well as to the welfare of the yeshivah as a whole.
For decades, the niftar was among the mainstays of Torah and chessed in the Kew Gardens community. Despite his many administrative obligations at the yeshivah, he remained the consummate masmid. The Respler home is well known as one with open doors. Countless guests enjoyed their Shabbos and Yom Tov seudos amid heartfelt hospitality.
The levayah began at Yeshivah Toras Emes and continued to Khal Adas Yereim in Kew Gardens. Kevurah took place at Beth Moses Cemetery in Pinelawn, Long Island.
He is survived by his wife, ybl”c, Mrs. Chana Miriam Respler; sons Harav Mordechai, Harav Naphtoli, and Harav Yisrael; daughters Mrs. Sarah Levovits, Mrs. Pearl Abramowitz and Mrs. Ruchy Kaufman; as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Yehi zichro baruch.