July 16, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 16, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Marvin Oppenheim, z”l: Torah, Avodah, Gemilut Chasadim

On Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Iyar, Teaneck and Congregation Bnai Yeshurun lost a pillar of our community, and we and many others lost a beloved friend. Marvin Oppenheim was niftar after a valiant fight against COVID-19.

Marvin was one of the great gifts of the Breuer’s community in Washington Heights. Coming to Teaneck nearly 50 years ago, he patterned his life after a generation of Breuer yekkes who involved themselves faithfully in the needs of the community, she’oskim b’tzarchei tzibur b’emunah. As one of the early members of Bnai Yeshurun, Marvin immersed himself in the needs of the shul, daily attending each minyan, leining, becoming a gabbai, and making sure the shul ran properly. Over the next years he became one of the founding members of both the CBY chevra kadisha and CBY Daf Yomi in 1980, to both of which he continued to contribute actively until his death. More than that, Marvin was always the man behind the scenes repairing broken shtenders and furniture, making sure the shul’s infrastructure was operating properly—even before anyone knew there was a problem. He single-handedly did hagalas keilim before Pesach until being joined by his son, Mark, in this arduous work. He was a man of many talents including being a sofer, frequently checking sifrei Torah and correcting errors, being a baal tefillah, baal korei, and baal tokea each Rosh Hashanah.

Whether it was carpentry, plumbing or electrical issues, he was the hands-on maintenance man for many hundreds of families in Teaneck, and so many relied on him for any and every problem they had in their homes. His creativity in finding solutions and his ability to invent something to solve problems or to guide us to a solution will be very missed. We cannot imagine not seeing his iconic blue car parked in front of so many houses signaling that Marvin had again come to the rescue.

Marvin was scrupulously honest in all his dealings, even asking Rabbi Pruzansky how much profit he was allowed to charge for his work. Parts that he bought for repairs were itemized to the penny. Being ישר, having integrity, was part of his makeup, again derived from the teachings of Rav Breuer and Shimshon Raphael Hirsch. He was unassuming, without fanfare and without wanting kavod. Everything he did was done because in his heart he understood what Hashem wanted of him and what the Torah taught him. He was a humble Jew who walked simply in the path of Torah. Marvin’s quirky sense of humor and his lightning retorts were a delight, and he and I swapped puns frequently while learning the daf.

When we heard the terrible news of our dear friend’s petira, we and so many others were devastated. Many questions suddenly came to mind: “What are we going to do without Marvin?” “What is Bnai Yeshurun going to do without Marvin?” “What are we going to do without his behind-the-scenes leadership and the role model he set for middot and Torah observance?”

On Sunday, 300 families watched his online funeral as he was appropriately laid to rest with a pasul sefer Torah.

Our community is bereft at his loss. A tzaddik has been taken from our midst. May his example and his love and devotion to his family, his wife Ruth and his sons, Mark, Michael, and Stuart, be a comfort and a guide for his grandchildren. And may we, the Teaneck community, continue to find inspiration from his memory and to emulate the example he set for all us.

By Judy and Ralph Marcus

 

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles