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REMEMBERING RABBI YEHUDA KELEMER ZT”L

I once heard a story from a Menahel of a school outside of West Hempstead that he remembers when growing up, how the kids on the Lower East Side were raised with unbelievable midot and it was specifically because they grew up in the community of Rav Moshe Feinstein. He likened this to the children in his school who lived in West Hempstead and he credited their midot to Rav Yehuda Kelemer.   There is a term of עשה לך רב But in this community of mine, we not only had a Rabbi that we made ours, but he allowed each and every one of us to feel like a friend and not just a congregant. His personal letters to me and his many phone calls, his visits to my home when he knew my Mother was up for a Chag, how he wouldn’t let me ever walk him home as he said, “Ari, I will just have to walk you back to your home when we arrive at mine”, how he was my advisor about everything from Halacha, to Hashkafa, to jurisprudence to family conflict. He was by far, the smartest and most insightful person I know. He reminded me that respecting parents is paramount to even שמירת שבת as the reward of למען יארכון ימיך is specifically for Kibud of parents, so I had to do whatever was necessary to be at my mother’s bedside even on a shabbos. How he would dance at our celebrations and even after his accident he would use his Walker to jump up in the air and show his personal Simcha. Not just for my family, but for every family. He once told the story of the man who was walking in the desert and was very sad that he was all alone. G-d called out to him and said not to worry as he could look down and see two sets of footprints, the second being G-d who was walking alongside him. Later, he noticed that there was only one set of footprints and he called out to G-d crying, why did you abandon me? And G-d responded, I did not abandon you, I was carrying you, hence the one set of footprints. Rav Kelemer, you have carried this community for over 30 years with honor and grace. I never saw you display your emotions of sadness or anger even when the worst tragedies afflicted our beloved West Hempstead, you were a Gadol in every sense of the word and I will always be proud that I raised my children in the community of Rav Yehuda Kelemer Shlita. Rest In Peace Rav. You will be sorely missed. I will personally miss all of our talks after the 8am minyan. Thank you for always making me feel very special even though you made our entire community membership feel the same. That was just what you did. תהא נשמתו צרור בצרור החיים