On Tuesday, June 2nd the Ehrlich family of Yerushalayim was struck by a terrible tragedy. Sadly, tragedy is no stranger to this family; only a year and a half ago they lost their beloved mother, Mrs. Liba Ehrlich, after a long and painful battle with cancer.
A few short weeks ago their father, Reb Moshe Ehrlich, son of the renowned Yiddish composer and folk singer Reb Yom Tov Ehrlich, was diagnosed with cancer. The terrifying disease was quick and destructive, and within a few weeks, Reb Moshe was gone.
Reb Moshe was born in 1952 in Brooklyn to his parents Reb Yom Tov Simcha and Mrs Chana Ehrlich. The home of Reb Yom Tov was one filled with Yiras Shamayim, simcha and Avodas Hashem. As the Satmer Rebbe Reb Yoel zy”a once said of Reb Yom Tov; “wherever he goes it is Yom Tov, what he spreads is Simcha and whatever he does is Ehrlich [honest]”.
Reb Yom Tov, or Yontel, as he was affectionately known, worked tirelessly to spread the old values of the Alter Heim and to permeate American Jewish homes with them. Through his many records where he rhymed and sang Yiddish lyrics, he infused his listeners with a “gishmak” in Shabbos, Yom Tov, Chinuch, hope for Moshiach and many, other topics. Reb Moshe, growing up, often accompanied his father in recording his records.
Reb Yom Tov and his family lived in Williamsburg for many years and then moved to Eretz Yisroel. In turn, all of the children married Israelis and most set up their homes there, Reb Moshe z”l included.
Reb Moshe learned in the Tzelimer Yeshiva in Williamsburg and in the early 70s traveled to learn in Eretz Yisroel. In the late 70s he married Mrs. Liba Weinberg a”h, daughter of Reb Shimon Weinberg Shlit”a, one of the prominent Chassidim of Slonim.
Reb Moshe was a paradigm of Emes with a tremendous Ahavas Hatorah. He constantly strove for excellence in character and taught his children the same. Reb Moshe was not content with doing things out of rote. When he sat down to learn, he immersed himself fully and could not be disturbed. He did everything without compromise, he took no short cuts. This was how he did everything, how he was as a husband and how he was as a father.
Reb Moshe would always try to find out the right way to do things and would not rest until he did. He loved to share his knowledge of the way things were in the “old days”, his phenomenal memory kept his audiences spellbound.
To hear Reb Moshe lead the prayers or sing a song was something that would keep people at a rapt attention. It was as if it were being played by instrument, so perfect were his vocal abilities. It was in this melodious way that he would pour out his heart to the Creator, sweeping the crowd along with him in sublime service of Hashem.
Emunah, faith, was always on his mind and lips. Especially throughout his wife’s long and dreadful battle with cancer, Reb Moshe’s faith did not waver and it was he who infused his children with the strength to withstand the suffering and ultimate loss of their beloved mother.
As stated before, this Tuesday Reb Moshe too fell victim to the dreaded disease and returned his pure soul to it’s Maker.
The family of orphans was crushed; especially the three youngest who are still unmarried. Preparations were started to begin the process of the levaya and burial, and that’s where the real trouble started.
The Chevra Kadisha [burial society] would not deal with the body of Reb Moshe until the family paid the sum of $25,000. This amount was not only for expenses of Reb Moshe’s burial and plot, but also for fees incurred by the burial of his wife, 1.5 years ago.
Needless to say, there was no way the family could afford this amount. The crushing blow they had just been dealt was enough, an exorbitant sum just to go ahead with their father’s burial was too much to bear. They had expected to make the levaya at night, in accordance with the custom in Yerushalayim, but alas, the funds could not be procured and the family had no choice but to go to sleep in the wee hours of the morning, dejected and devastated.
Meanwhile, in NY, word got out about the delay of the levaya and the reason behind it. A few dedicated volunteers who know the family set up a GoFundMe campaign. The goal was to raise not only the $25,000 needed to proceed with the funeral, but also an additional $10,000 to keep the family afloat in over the next short period of time, with a total goal set at $35,000.
Over the next 12 hours the link to the website went viral on social media, such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter, and good hearted people across the globe logged in and placed their donations. In less than 12 hours, over $25,000 was raised. The family in Israel who went to sleep hopeless and broken, woke up to the unbelievable news that the entire amount needed for the funeral was raised and the funeral was scheduled for this morning.
By now, over $30,000 has been raised and the goal of $35,000 will be hopefully be reached by this afternoon. The Ehrlich family is blown away by the outpouring of Chessed and support they have been shown. They cannot express their appreciation adequately enough, this has brought a level of consolation to them in this terrible state.
However, the bulk of the project is still ahead of us. With three children still at home, aged 16, 18 and 20, unmarried and bereft of both parents, they have no one who will provide for them. Imagine the pain and hopelessness that a young adult feels; no loving mother and no supporting father, no income, barely a home. Their future is terribly bleak.
We must show our support and come to the rescue of these poor orphans! What was done in the past 14 hours is proof that there are hundreds of caring people with open hearts who will jump in and do their share to ease the pain and burden of a family who suffered tragedy after tragedy. The new goal is now $100,000. This will provide the basic needs of the family for the time being and will hopefully assist in marrying off these children when the time comes.
This project is endorsed by Rabbi Shmuel Dishon Shlit”a, a close friend of the family.
Call: (929) 262-0202
Or send checks to
Cong. Bais Aaron
1070 38th Street
Brooklyn NY 11219