The Jewish community of Willowbrook, Staten Island, was shocked and saddened by news of the untimely petirah of Rabbi Dovid Winiarz, z”l, a man noted for his tremendous work in chessed and outreach, who was Killed in a car accident in Maryland.
“He passed away on his way to a mitzvah,” said Harav Moshe Meir Weiss, Rav of the Agudas Yisrael of Staten Island. “He was going to the AJOP [American Jewish Outreach Professionals] convention. Just last night he was in our shul for Avos Ubanim and he was talking to me about the convention with such excitement and animation. He loved people and he loved kiruv.”
Rabbi Winiarz operated an organization called “Survival through Education,” aimed at making Torah knowledge easily available to those living outside of religious communities. The organization’s apt motto is “helping the chosen people choose.” He was active in outreach efforts at the College of Staten Island in addition to several other locations. A combination of his seemingly endless spring of energy and enthusiasm and warm disposition, enabled him to reach out to countless neshamos.
Yanky Mayer of Misaskim told Hamodia that the accident occurred early Sunday morning on Route 23 in Hartford, Maryland. The car sustained a head-on collision with another vehicle due to icy driving conditions. Two other passengers were hospitalized, but are in stable condition and are expected to be released shortly.
“He was a real tzaddik,” said Rabbi Avi Shafran of Agudath Israel of America, a resident of Willowbrook. “He was a major figure in our community for over 25 years. People admired his energy. He was always looking to help people. If he wasn’t davening or learning, he was always running to do chessed.”
In addition to his kiruv work, Rabbi Winiarz, together with his wife, ran Willowbrook’s Bikur Cholim society, known as Ezras Achim, and a food pantry that helped approximately 100 needy families.
The levayah will be at 9:30 Monday morning at the Young Israel of Staten Island.
Yehi zichro baruch.