Rabbi Dr. A.J. Twerski zt”l
It is with great sadness that we inform the community of the passing of
Rabbi Dr. A.J. Twerski zt”l 90 years old. Passed away after being hospitalized last week with Covid.
Beloved husband of Dr. Gail Twerski.
Beloved father and great grandfather.
Rabbi Twerski was a schocet, mohel, world renouned scholar and well respected and know in the secular world for his work with addiction.
“Rabbi Twerski left a tzavoah that there should be no hespedim at his levayah but they should sing his famous song, “Hoshia Es Amecha.” – as reported by Hamodia.
Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski requested that there be no Hespedim at his Levaya. Instead, the world will be eulogizing him for years to come. Humbly, I add my voice to theirs in a feeble attempt to describe a man who changed the Jewish world, the secular world, and the world of every individual that he touched. He was my cousin (though I addressed him as Uncle Shiya), my mentor, my teacher. And as he did with so many others, he invested of his time in me and changed my life for the better.
Rabbi Twerski was a singularly unifying figure in the Jewish world. His wisdom was acknowledged across the spectrum of Jewish observance; Secular, Modern, Yeshivish, Chassidish…. The man spoke truth to the masses and truth to power.
The establishment did not want to recognize that alcoholism was a problem for many Orthodox Jews. Rabbi Twerski helped them to recognize that it was. The establishment did not want to acknowledge that drug addiction was a growing problem in the Orthodox Jewish world. He helped them to see and acknowledge its destructive effects. The establishment did not want to accept that domestic violence was running rampant in the Orthodox Jewish community. Despite the inordinate amount of pushback and flack directed against him in his campaign to make the community aware, he helped them to see, to accept, and to deal with a problem that was too painful for them to initially acknowledge.
And he has inspired others to do the same with even more difficult subjects (internet pornography, child molestation). He paved the way so others could follow.
Even in his death, he has spoken truth to power and to the masses. COVID-19 took Rabbi Twerski’s life in about two weeks’ time. Despite the overwhelming number of deaths that have occurred as a result of this wretched disease, there are still so many people who do not acknowledge that COVID-19 poses a real danger. Perhaps, those individuals will now recognize its severity. Rabbi Twerski’s levaya was relatively small, limited to family and close friends (though one can only imagine the throng that greeted him in Shamayim), with those in attendance wearing masks and doing their best to maintain social distancing when possible.
We have lost not only a Torah giant, but a doctor who brought healing to his people. We miss you, Uncle Shiya.
Rebbetzin Miriam Goldie Huttler