Thousands of people accompanied Harav Shalom Meir Yungerman, zt”l,the founder and director of the Mercaz Lechinuch Torani institutions in Zichron Yaakov, on his final journey at levayos in Zichron Yaakov and Bnei Brak.
Harav Yungerman was also the founder of Olah Shel Torah in Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak, Kiryat Sefer, Yerushalayim and Elad, and the author of Shalmei Meir, Avodas Hakodesh, Mimeged Shamayim and Kovetz Shittos Kemai. He passed away on Wednesday night at the age of 72.
Harav Yungerman was born on 8 Adar 5700/1940 in Vienna, Austria, to Reb Yechiel Michel, a supporter of Torah who was very active in tzedakah and chessed.
In 1951, his parents came to Eretz Yisrael and settled in Tel Aviv. As a bachur, he was accepted into Yeshivas Slabodka, where he became very close to its Roshei Yeshivah, Harav Yechezkel Abramsky, zt”l, and, ybl”c, Harav Dov Landau, shlita.
While he was a bachur, he spent bein hazmanim working for P’eylim Yad L’Achim, and he was very successful in drawing Jews closer to their heritage. He also worked tirelessly to save Yidden from missionary elements that were active in Eretz Yisrael, especially among new immigrants.
He married Tziporah, a”h,the daughter of Harav Gavreil Riklis, zt”l, and they established a home of Torah and chessed.
In 1968, under the guidance of Harav Yechezkel Abramsky, Harav Yungerman founded a kollel in Zichron Yaakov as part of the war they waged against the activities of German missionary Ama Berger.
Slowly the chareidi presence in Zichron Yaakov expanded, and Harav Yungerman established a network of educational institutions for the residents, which now includes 12 kindergartens, two chadarim, two Bais Yaakov schools, a mesivta, a yeshivah ketanah and gedolah, a high school and dormitory for girls, and eight kollelim throughout the city, all of which he personally supervised.
His influence expanded to other towns in the region, and he opened a network of kollelim for baalei teshuvah in which avreichim from Zichron Yaakov teach. There are kollelim in Ohr Akiva, Binyamina, Pardes Chana, Yokneam and Atlit, and hundreds of people returned to their heritage thanks to the spiritual activities he organized.
The success of his efforts prompted Harav Yungerman to launch activities in Tel Aviv as well. More than ten years ago he opened Yachad, an organization supported by a generous philanthropist from the United States, which includes schools and kindergartens for children whose parents have recently returned to Yiddishkeit. He also established six kollelim in Tel Aviv, where avreichim from Bnei Brak learn and teach baalei teshuvah.
Harav Yungerman recently grew weaker, and three weeks ago he went into cardiac arrest and then a coma. Despite multitudes of heartfelt tefillos offered on his behalf, he was taken from us late on Wednesday night.
The levayah took place Thursday morning in Zichron Yaakov, where thousands of residents and talmidim from the city and its environs came to pay their respects. He was then taken to Bnei Brak, where he was buried.
Harav Yungerman is survived by a sister, six sons and three daughters.
Yehi zichro baruch.