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In Memory Of Rabbi Avraham Lerner, A’h

Last 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.

We 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.

Recently 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.

Early 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.

At 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.

In 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.

An 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.

In 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.

Tthe Adelstein Family
(Written by Tamar Adelstein)



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