NEW YORK (Jun. 29)
Thousands of mourners attended funeral rites in the United States and Israel for Rabbi Shneur Kotler, a member of the Council of Torah Sages of Agudath Israel of America and dean of the Beth Medrash Gohova yeshiva in Lakewood, N.J., who died last Thursday at the age of 64. Rabbi Kotler was regarded as one of the world’s leading Talmudic scholars who had a major role in the expansion of advanced Torah studies in the United States.
More than 5,000 attended a rite in the main study hall of the Lakewood yeshiva on Sunday morning for the scholar who died in a Boston hospital. From Lakewood, the funeral moved to the Boro Park section of Brooklyn, where at the Yeshiva Toras Emes Kaminetz more than 30,000 Jews met to pay their final respects, filling the yeshiva and the block outside. The body was flown that evening to Israel where on Monday, Rabbi Kotler was buried next to his father, Rabbi Aharon Kotler. Some 40,000 Jews took part in funeral services in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Kotler was born in Slutsk, Russia and settled in Palestine in 1940 to continue his studies under his grandfather, Rabbi Isser Zalman Meltzer. In 1946, he joined his father in Lakewood where the Beth Medrash Gohova had been transplanted from Europe. He assumed leadership of the institution on the elder Rabbi Kotler’s death in 1962. Since then its student body grew from 180 to over 1000.