Sunday, March 07, 2021

It’s hard to believe a year has gone by since the horrific car accident that shook the Teaneck community and claimed the life of Shelly Mermelstein, z”l, longtime Teaneck resident, beloved community staple and true baal chesed. In honor of his first yahrzeit, his family gathered together Motzei Shabbat Chanukah, with some close friends, to make two siyumim and remember a man who valued Torah and family above all. Before the Mermelsteins’ oldest son, Chaim Mayer, made a siyum on Shisha Sidrei Mishna, he shared that in every masechet he learned he found something to remind him of his father—something his father was careful about or interested in; that is the result of living a life dedicated to Torah.

Earlier that evening, Micah Kaufman, who was severely injured in the accident with Shelly, lit the Chanukah menorah in Shelly’s memory outside Congregation Bnai Yeshurun, where the accident took place last year. Kaufman has made a miraculous recovery over the past year and credits the power of prayer for the incredible strides he’s made. Kaufman has been spreading his inspirational message of strength, chesed and emunah.

To include the greater community in remembering Shelly on his first yahrzeit, the Mermelstein family invites the entire community to a shiur in his memory, given by Rabbi Larry Rothwachs, rabbi of their shul, Congregation Beth Aaron. The virtual shiur will take place on December 20, 11 a.m., on the topic of “The Torah Imperative of Self-Improvement” and can be accessed with the following link: https://zoom.us/j/92168325955.

The family has also dedicated Masechet Yevamot of the Daf Hashavua program in Shelly’s memory and encourage anyone who is interested to join the learning in his name.

Rabbi Rothwachs commented, “Shelly Mermelstein, z”l, was a very distinguished member of our community and it is still difficult to fathom the loss that we have suffered. In addition to the countless ways that Shelly was devoted to the tzibur, he was always focused on self-improvement and personal growth. Sunday’s shiur, which is being offered in commemoration of his first yahrzeit, will focus on this very midah, one of his most special signature traits.”

Fran, Shelly’s wife, expressed hakarat hatov for all the support this past year. “I want to thank everyone in the greater Teaneck/Bergenfield community—friends, family, rabbanim—who have been so thoughtful throughout this year. Sending flowers, calling and texting me Good Shabbos and Good Yom Tov, dropping food off and overall making sure that I am okay. Rabbi and Rebbetzin Rothwachs have been especially amazing and sensitive to my needs and have given me much chizuk. My friends have risen to the occasion and given me strength through this time. I am incredibly humbled and thankful for the support. This is what true chesed is all about. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my children and grandchildren who continuously bring me nachas and nechama.”

Earlier this year, son Ellie and his wife Ayelet donated a bike rack to Yeshivat He’Atid, where their two children attend, in memory of their father who was an avid biker. A Rosh Chodesh breakfast for the school faculty is also planned in his memory.

Ayelet told The Jewish Link, “My father-in-law used to polish the silver from the Torahs at Beth Aaron with Micah Kaufman. He taught my children how to polish silver, and whenever they do, they think of him. When we lit our newly polished menorah this year, we also lit the yahrzeit candle right beside it. With those candles burning ever so brightly, we remember him as the inspiration that he was, always living his life with his family, Torah and mitzvot in mind.”