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Levaya Of Reb Yehoshua Zvi Hershkowitz Z’L; Founder Of ‘Tomchei Shabbos’

YWN regrets to inform you of the Petira of Reb Yehoshua Zvi Hershkowitz Z”L, the founder of the first Tomchei Shabbos Organization. He was 90 years old.

Reb Yehoshua Zvi founded the organization to serve the Boro Park community in 1978. It soon expanded to making weekly deliveries to Flatbush as well. Later, other people founded Tomchei Shabbos in their own communities based off his model and idea.

Tomchei Shabbos of Boro Park / Flatbush delivers food to around 700 families every week.

One person who makes weekly deliveries for the past 25 years told YWN that he would deliver tons of food to Lakewood, Monsey, Kiryas Yoel and other communities each year before Pesach – until those communities began to open their own organizations.

The Niftar did this without fanfare and was almost unknown to even the recipients of the weekly deliveries. He was a long-time employee of the United States Postal Service, and received an award on the day of his retirement for not missing one day of work during his entire career.

Hi Chesed is legendary, but did everything quietly and behind the scenes.

Much can – and will be written about this giant of a man who was taken from us.

The Levaya will be held today (Monday) at 1:00PM in front of the Tomche Shabbos building located at 6225 New Utrecht Ave. The Kevura will be at around 3:00PM at the Satmar Cemetery in Deans, N.J.

Boruch Dayan HaEmmes…

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

12 Responses

  1. Burech dyen emes: i will never forget when 35 years ago i was a yingerman and i lived in apartment house on 15th ave. and a lady came knocking on my door that the lady next to her comes every morning to borrow 2 slices bread and a cup of milk. She asked me to investigate whats going on in her home that she needs to borrow. Next hour i went with my wife knocking on her door and asked to speak to her. She invited us in and i walked staright to the fridge and found empty shelves, i opened the freezer and it was empty. i had the guts to open her cabinets and found only dishes with not a stitch of food. I asked her what caused her to live in such poverty with 2 kids when there are so many food programs from the city,food stamps or meals on wheels. She told us that her husband left them and when ever she applied for food stamps he called the city and said that he is gives her full support therefore they cut off her assistance. The same day i called Mr. Hershkovitz a”h and explained to him the whole story.
    Mr. Hershkowitz called me back in 3 hours and told me that he set up an account at the local grocery for her to shop every day with a $250 allowance per week. This is probably only a tip of the iceberg of the thousands of stories that klal yisroel will be writing in the next years to come from this great Tzadik.
    May he be a Mylitz yosher for his family and klal yisroel and we should all donate for Tomche Shabbos for his great neshume. Yehy zichroy burech…

  2. While the niftar definitely gets a lot of credit for building Tomchei Shabbos to the massive Chesed organization it is today .
    It was actually founded way before 1978 by R’ Simcha Kovalenko Zatzal And others .

  3. Dear Mr Steve Feasterville.

    Hrah”z R’ yeshia tzvi and his wife Sarah Brucha we’re the ones that founded תומכי שבת long before anyone thought about such an organization, even they themselves didn’t believe they will get this far into serving approx 700 families weekly. And all the organization followed to do the same chesed. They used to go to Maimondies Hospital to give heimish kosher food for patiants. They did it B’shleimes they did not benefit from the organization’s food or money not even 1 cent.


    *Not R’ Simcha Kovalenko Zatzal And others

  4. Mstark1982 ,

    Lol ! No one is taking away allthe the unbelievable work that he did.

    But facts remain facts ! You can’t change history!
    Ask anyone who remembers that time before 1978 .

  5. IT really makes no difference who founded Tomche Shabbos as it makes NO difference who founded Hatzolah, or all great organization. We are talking here about a great great tzadik who was makdish his life for klal yisroel and never ever benefit from this great organization. The only benefit he has is a great place in Gan Eden with all Tzadikim .
    Hashem should help that his son Chaim who is following his footsteps should have the Koach and Gezint to continue in his father footsteps and Klal Yisroel should always be partners with this great Mitzveh .

  6. Burech Dyen Emes:

    Dear Mr Steve Feasterville I don’t know from what Organisation you are talking about I am sure R’ Simcha Kovalenko Zatzal And others who ever they are also did some good deeds, but Tomchei Shabbos of Boro Park and Flatbush was founded by Hrah”z R’ Yeshia Tzvi and his wife Sarah Brucha Zt”l

    I am not here to write stories of them as i will never end as there are stories about this Tzadik and Tzedikes to no end.

    I remember when they have started it I was only 19 yrs and i was from the first volunteers, he would warn us as we deliver the packages we should make sure that no one shall see us when and where we drop it off and it should be on the most respectful manner that they shouldn’t chas vesholem feel ashamed. as i am writing now i just reminded myself when on a freezing Thursday night as we were packing the boxes to distribute his wife brought him a coffee from the grocery a few blocks down as i asked her why did she go out in this slippery icy freezing weather when we have everything here in the garage she replied: me and my husband are here to give and not take not even a penny from this organisation ch”v.

    Yehy zichroy burech…

  7. Steve is correct actually. R ‘ Poletcesk zya was partners together with R ‘ Kavalenko zya
    They started tomchei shabas together in Boro park many years ago .
    Regardless who start these were alll very special people

  8. He spoke to everyone and was easily accessible. My mother once explained to him that having the boxes delivered caused my father great shame, it was then that he started a “voucher” program.
    Every week my mother went to KRM and with dignity paid with a tomchei shabbos voucher that looked like a credit card.
    I’ve spoken to Tomchei Shabbos and asked them to restart that program but they said they don’t do it anymore.

    I know that Rabbi Hershkowitz zt”l took great pride in it- As he would call us to see if the amount was enough and that the card worked. Perhaps they can reinstate l’ilui nishmaso.

    Unfortunately my husband and I are on hard times and many weeks don’t have for shabbos, yet my children are too embarrassed to have the deliveries and out of their respect I have chosen not to receive tomchei shabbos and B”H, I make a beautiful shabbos and yom tov with HaShems help.

    But anyone that has the power to discuss this voucher program with the current administration of Tomchei shabbos should please grab this mitzvah. Not even for my family but for the thousands of other families out there.

    May his Neshama have an Aliya. He and his wife were very special people. May their zchusim stand before them.

  9. Tomche Shabbos was founded in 1975 at the kitchen table of Harav Yehoshea Tzvi Herschkowits’ home on Fort Hamilton Pky & 47th St. In Boro Park until they outgrew it and moved to a larger location, along the way he assisted various “Tomche Shabbos” around the country & the world that used his name but are operated independently.

    Harav Mordechai Polatcheck & R’ Kavalenko had a food distribution program in Williamsburg prior to Herschkowits, as the commentator above has noted, but under a different name, not Tomche Shabbos, and they were not connected in any way to Tomche Shabbos of Boro Park or Harav Herschkowits.

    They all do great Tzedakah and Chesed though !

  10. Anonymous72- I bentch you to get back on your feet with a respectable income very soon.
    In the meantime, I’d suggest you call Tomchei Shabbos and ask them to deliver in real grocery stores boxes so that it looks like it was delivered from real grocery stores such as Evergreen, KRM, Moisha’s, Gourmet glatt, Seasons etc.

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