The passing of Rebbetzin Temah Kamenetsky a”h late this past Sunday evening left the frum world in mourning. The rebbetzin was the eishes chaver of Maran HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, the Rosh HaYeshiva of Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia and member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudas Yisroel of America. The rebbetzin was always at her husband’s side, being an active supporter of his work circulating Torah.
In her own right, the rebbetzin held a special place for the holiness of Shabbos and Yom Tov, always had a simchas hachaim and wore a smile, organized Torah programming for women, often emphasized the midah of shmiras ha’lashon, and spoke of medical happenings. When asked how she felt, even when recovering from COVID, she said, “Always very grateful.” When she broke her hip, she quipped, “At least I didn’t break my head.” On a car ride with the Rosh HaYeshivah, I merited to hear the venerable rav speak of his eishes chayil’s daily influence on his activities. The rebbetzin knew where the rav was and of his needs even from afar.
Rebbetzin Temi, 92, was a tried-and-true New Yorker, born to Rabbi Mordechai and Charna Raizel Brooks in the Bronx and raised in Boro Park and Williamsburg, where she attended the Vichna Kaplan seminary before moving to Lakewood following her marriage to the gadol hador. At the time, Beth Medrash Govoha was made up of the residence from a couple buildings. The neighbors were friendly, sharing amenities and giving their youth the opportunity to enjoy one another’s company.
The couple, under the direction of Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l, first set up Torah life in Los Angeles and later in Philadelphia, where the yeshivah and community continue to thrive. At the time of their introduction to the Philly community, there was just one Hebrew Day school without separate classes. The Kamenetskys brought in positive influences and built everlasting bonds with the yeshivah community. The young children stood close to their parents and slowly understood the life of Torah that was in their midst. Today, the path of Torah continues to spread through their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Rabbi Sholom Kamenetsky leads as Rosh Yeshiva in Philadelphia; Rabbi Avraham Kamenetsky is a Ram in Yeshivas Beis Yisrael, Yerushalayim; Rabbi Dov Kamenetsky resides in Toronto; Rabbi Ze’ev Kamenetsky is a Ram in the Yeshiva of Belmar, New Jersey; Rabbi Dovid Kamenetsky is an editor at Schottenstein and a Ram in the Darkei Noam Yeshiva; Rabbi Aharon Kamenetsky; Rabbi Eliyahu Kamenetsky; Rabbi Tzvi Berkowitz (Ettil), Rosh Yeshiva, Ner Yisrael, Baltimore; Rabbi Shalom Kelmer; Rabbi Shia Shechter; and Rabbi Yechiel Moskowitz.
The levayah was held the following day at the yeshivah with the participation of Lakewood Roshei Yeshivos Rav Malkiel Kotler and Rav Yerucham Olshin. K’vura was at Mt. Judah Cemetery in Queens where many rabbonim attended, including Chofetz Chaim Roshei Yeshivos Rav Akiva Grunblatt and Rav Dovid Harris; Rav Chaim Meir Gutfreund; Rav Ezra Rodkin; Rav Herschel Welcher; and countless other leading gedolim.
Logistics and transport were handled by David Kushner, coordinator of Misaskim of Philadelphia, as well as M. Levy. Misaskim also assisted mourners with traffic control and offered hot drink and snacks to over 300 mourners. Avishai Shachar, Moshe Teicher, and I represented Misaskim of Queens, while Tuli Draslowitz and his brother Shloime, and Myer Fried joined to assist with the Misaskim of Brooklyn Command vehicle. Following the burial, the members assisted the Kamenetskys with a warm space to daven and rejuvenate ahead of their return trip to Philadelphia.