July 19, 2024
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3500 Attend Funeral of Rav Moshe Twersky z”l

Har Hamenuchot–More than 3500 hundred people of every walk of Orthodox Jewish life, from members of the yeshivishe world, the Modern Orthodox world, haredim, Hasidim and even Neturei Karta, honored the neshama and the life of the kodesh, HaRav Moshe Twersky, z’l, 59, who was murdered while davening with three other rabbanim in the horrible attack on Kehillat Bnei Torah in Har Nof. Rav Twersky was the rosh yeshiva of Toras Moshe, an English-speaking yeshiva popular with American bochurim who study in Israel during their post-high school years. He and his family made aliyah from Boston in 1990.

He was the descendant of an important Hasidic and Torah U’madda family that traces its origins to a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov. His father was Rabbi Yitzchak Twersky, son of Rabbi Meshulam Twersky, the Tolner Rebbe. The family came to America in the 1920s. Yitzhak continued in his father’s footsteps as the Tolner Rebbe and, highly unusual for the son of a Hasidic rebbe. A Hasidic rebbe himself, as a youth, he attended the Boston Latin School, an almost unheard of education for the son of a Hasidic rebbe, and became an expert on the Rambam.

Rav Yitzhak went on to found Harvard’s Judaic Studies Department and led it from 1978-1993, leaving his son to follow in his footsteps as a Harvard scholar and Rosh Yeshiva. Rav Moshe carried on his father’s legacy by building bridges to other branches of Orthodox Judaism, and emphasized the Yeshivishe branch, while maintaining a strong belief in Torah U’madda and continuing ties with the Modern Orthodox world.

This stream was also coursing through Rav Moshe’s blood, as his maternal grandfather was the late Rav Joseph B. Solveitchik, the senior Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), who is considered the major proponent of American Modern Orthodoxy. His daughter married Yitzhak Twersky, despite the fact that he was a Hasidic rebbe’s son.

Rabbi Menachem Genack, pulpit rabbi of Cong. Shomrei Emunah in Englewood, said that Rav Moshe was the first grandson of the Rov and “the apple of his eye. …He was so extraordinary. He was quiet, very brilliant, very insightful, he just saw things the way they really were,” Genack said. He remembered telling the teenage Twersky: “I wish I had the notes” from his talks with his grandfather.

Meshulam Twersky, the rabbi’s eldest son, hailed him as someone “you could always pour your heart out to,” adding that his only solace was that his father had died in prayer.

A separate funeral service was held for the other victims: Aryeh Kupinsky, 43, who grew up near Detroit; Cary William Levine, 55, from Kansas City, Missouri; and Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 68, of Liverpool, England. An Israeli Druze policeman, Zidan Saif, also was killed in the attack.

The Maimonides School, the prominent day school founded by his grandfather in Brookline, Massachusetts, issued a public statement about Rav Moshe’s murder. “The Maimonides School Family is engulfed in grief and outrage today,” they wrote. They noted that the rav is survived by a brother, sister, mother, wife and five children.

Twersky’s sister, Tzipporah Twersky Rosenblatt, is married to Jonathan Rosenblatt, great grandson of Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt and rabbi of the Riverdale Jewish Center.

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