Catskills, NY – This past Tuesday, Parshas Sh’mos, marked rare, emotional events, highlighting the kedusha of Klal Yisroel, as individuals and as a tzibur. At these inspiring gatherings in the Catskill Mountains in the towns of Liberty and Woodridge, NY, the Chesed Shel Emes organization unveiled 130 Matzeivos on the kvarim of niftarim who had no one in the world to care for their burial except for the dedicated volunteers of Chesed Shel Emes who spared no effort to bring them to kever yisroel.
These cemeteries are two out of seven cemeteries under the auspices of the Chevra Kadisha of Chesed Shel Emes. The other burial plots include four sections in the Long Island; and one section in New Jersey, in which Chesed Shel Emes has brought to kever Yisroel throughout the years more than 1500 indigent Jewish souls.
This monumental project is yet another link in Chesed Shel Emes’ golden chain of pivotal chesed undertakings. Under the dedicated leadership of Rav Mendel Rosenberg, shlit”a, the organization has become renowned worldwide as a bastion of chesed and a flagship defender of the kedusha of niftarim. Starting at the time of yetziyas neshama and continuing long after the final mourner’s kaddish is recited, Chesed Shel Emes ensures that every yid is accorded the utmost respect and dignity. They are the ones who organize the minyan in the hospital to accompany the yid with a most befitting departure. They are the ones who are entrusted with the sensitive task of ensuring that the hospital upholds the kedusha of the niftar. They are the ones who are called upon for the tahara, then the kevura, and at times, even the hakamas matzeiva.
Chesed Shel Emes is acclaimed for the ultimate chesed; their dedication to meisei mitzva. However, their kindness extends far beyond the abandoned deceased. When tragedy strikes, rachmana litzlan, Chesed Shel Emes is called upon to assist local Chevra Kadishas in these catastrophic situations with man power and expertise. And when legalities interfere with halacha’s obligations towards a niftar, Chesed Shel Emes is the guardian who work together with medical examiners, coroners, and law enforcement agencies safeguards the kedusha of every yiddishe neshama. While these projects require monumental investments of financial resources, time, and diplomacy, Chesed Shel Emes never says no… for Rav Mendel Rosenberg and his dedicated team of volunteers know no limits when another yid calls for help.
After the conclusion of the hakomas matzeivos, all participants gathered in the Kerestirer shul in Woodridge where they drank L’chaim and Rav Mendel Rosenberg took the opportunity to thank all the volunteers who selflessly dedicate their days and nights to help those who can no longer ask for help, and said that without their endless effort he would never be able to accomplish so much.
He also thanked all the donors who realized the importance and the holiness of this task, and so generously support this holy endeavor, so that every yiddisher neshoma can be afforded their right to a final resting place with respect and dignity according to Halacha.
While the crowd dispersed soon afterwards, the day’s impact continued to linger. Chesed Shel Emes’ exceptional dedication to every yid made a dramatic statement about the precious value of the kedusha inherit in each yiddishe neshama. And while all eagerly anticipated the long-awaited day of techiyas hameisim when the bais hachaim will become a relic of the galus era, this historic gathering will continue to remain inscribed as a demonstration of Kiddush shem Shamayim; how a group of volunteers devote themselves to the avodas hakodesh of upholding the dignity of each individual yid.