Harav Shmuel Mendlowitz, zt”l, founder and menahel of Mesivta Bais Shraga of Monsey, was niftar on Wednesday evening, 7 Teves.
He was a son of the legendary Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, zt”l, and proudly carried on his father’s legacy, imbuing generations of talmidim with a sense of enthusiasm of avodas Hashem rooted in a deep understanding of sifrei hashkafah.
Born in 1926 in Williamsburg, Rav Mendlowitz attended Mesivta Torah Vodaath and readily absorbed his illustrious father’s unique derech.
In 1949, Rav Mendlowitz married Shana Moskowitz, a”h, the daughter of Reb Tzvi, z”l, and Mrs. Leah, a”h, Moskowitz, who were models of the old-world ehrlicher Yidden. Together with his Rebbetzin, who passed away five years ago, Rav Mendlowitz raised a family that would share their dedication to harbotzas haTorah and sense of duty to Klal Yisrael.
Shortly after their marriage, the Mendlowitzes settled in Monsey, where Rav Mendlowitz became a rebbi in the Yeshivah of Spring Valley elementary school.
In 1956, together with his brother-in-law, Harav Yehoshua Schiff, zt”l, he founded Mesivta Bais Shraga, which would go on to become a bedrock of Monsey’s then-budding frum community.
The yeshivah was a distinctive project in multiple ways. It was one of very few “out-of-town” yeshivos that existed in America at the time, giving bachurim an opportunity to learn in an environment with minimal distractions. Secondly, it was the first yeshivah to be founded and run by bnei Torah who had been born and educated on American shores.
Perhaps most importantly, Rav Mendlowitz was dedicated to continuing his father’s vision of building a mosad that would combine an intensely serious dedication to limud haTorah with a sincere passion for avodah.
In his role as menahel, Rav Mendlowitz showed great dedication to ensuring the financial stability and smooth running of Bais Shraga. Yet, more than anything else, he was a role model of what he hoped to implant in talmidim. He regularly gave shiurim in Nach as well as in such works as the Kuzari, Tanya, Nefesh Hachaim, and the sefarim of Harav Tzadok Hakohen, zy”a.
The influence Rav Mendlowitz had on those who studied in Bais Shraga was not limited to the intellectual component. His heartfelt tefillos and niggunim served as an example of how the lessons of the sefarim he taught should be put into practice. For decades he served as a baal tefillah in the yeshivah for the Yamim Nora’im. Rav Mendlowitz would often become so overwhelmed with emotion at certain points of the davening that he would have to stop to collect himself, leaving a lasting impression on the mispallelim.
The levayah was held Thursday morning at Mesivta Bais Shraga. From there it continued on to Eretz Yisrael for kevurah.
He is survived by his sister, Rebbetzin Shulamis Schiff; sons, Harav Shraga Feivel and Harav Menachem; daughters, Mrs. Rivka Leibowitz, Mrs. Esther Berkowitz, Mrs. Yehudis Greenbaum and Mrs. Shifra Lichtenstein; as well as by many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Yehi zichro baruch.
Updated Thursday, January 5, 2017 at 6:33 pm