Memory Of Rabbi Avraham Lerner, A’h
week our community was left bereft of a talmid chocham and
Chassid, when Rabbi Avraham Lerner returned his neshama to Hashem
on 21 Iyar, Erev Shabbos.
became acquainted with Rabbi Lerner and his family through a friendship
between our daughters. Rabbi Lerner was a devoted and caring father.
This year, however, our family was zocheh to know another side of
him – his devotion to teaching Torah to children.
our son, Yehuda Yekusiel, was ready to be mainstreamed from a special
education class to a conventional classroom. He had been in
special-education yeshivos for close to five years. However, last
summer, all of the professionals working with him decided he would
benefit highly from inclusion in a conventional classroom setting that
involved a support team of tutors and visual training. After putting
such a team into place (and although it was difficult to do so), we
found a local yeshiva who accepted him in 6th grade.
in the fall, we had asked Rabbi Lerner to join the team and tutor our
son in Hebrew reading and Chumash. Imagine our amazement when the
first session lasted four hours at night and our son, whose attention
span was limited to thirty minutes, sat spellbound, literally drinking
in every word Rabbi Lerner taught in his soft-spoken manner. Each time
he came, he encouraged Yehuda, assuring him that he was more than
capable and would soon catch up with his class. At the end of each
session we wanted to pay him, and he would refuse until we were adamant.
times, when we despaired of getting Yehuda into a yeshiva, Rabbi
Lerner would share with us numerous examples of how the Rebbe never gave
up on any student. Once a boy had written to the Rebbe about his slow
progress in school. The Rebbe responded by encouraging him – and then
called the school and asked the principal and teacher for a weekly
report. If the boy lacked progress a particular week, the Rebbe would
send a note to the teacher reminding him to go to sleep earlier in order
to be more alert in the morning to teach that boy. Every child can learn
and become a success story as long as parents, principals and teachers
don’t give up.
memory of Rabbi Lerner, we have decided to inaugurate the following
service to our community, a service designed to help children, when
appropriate, in transition to conventional classrooms in our local
schools. We believe that with the right kind of support (vision
training, OT, PT, language and reading skills training, tutoring, and
parent-teacher-principal involvement), many special needs children can
succeed in our schools.
informal gathering towards this goal will take place on Isru Chag
Shavuos, June 11, at 10:30 a.m. in our home at 1714 President.
Individuals wishing to learn more about how they can participate as
tutors can contact us at (718) 774-0914.
conclusion, we note that Rabbi Lerner was niftar on the day of Chessed
sh’b’Yesod, a time when the quality of kindness is most
apparent in the world’s foundation. This truly exemplified Rabbi
Lerner’s approach to his fellow Jew. May he be a meilitz yosher
for his family, friends, and Klal Yisroel.
(Written by Tamar Adelstein)