Dr. Irving Moskowitz, a man whose heart and Jerusalem were one

Words in honored memory of a great man who "elevated Jerusalem as his chief joy" and was an active partner in bringing the Redemption closer.

Rabbi Yaakov Shapira,

הרב יעקב שפירא
הרב יעקב שפירא
צילום: חזקי עזרא

All of us feel the pain of Dr. Irving Moskowitz zt"l's passing.

One cannot eulogize him in the usual way, because his life, his personality and his deeds were so far from usual, were so very special.

A unique man, a man who loved Torah and Zion. Whose heart and Jerusalem's heart were one, in the words of the Prophet Isaiah: "Speak tenderly to the heart of Jerusalem (Chap. 40:2)."

Dr. Moskowitz was one of the stones of the Holy City walls, his heart, spirit and soul were forever entwined with Jerusalem, he rejoiced in her happiness and felt her sorrow.  The ongoing Redemption of Israel which comes to fruition most singularly through the rebuilding of Jerusalem, as the Gaon of Vilna wrote, was an integral part of his faith.

He once said that he feels that G-d helps him succeed in his business enterprises because He sees how he longs to be part of redeeming the Land of Israel, how happy he is to help return the land to its former glory, and how joyful to be an active partner in the Redemption of the Jewish People.

Calling Dr. Moskowitz our partner is not a true portrayal of his accomplishments. He was way beyond that. He was first and foremost, the motivating power and initiator of anything that had to do with the Holy City.

At one of the Jerusalem Day festivities in our yeshiva, "Merkaz Harav," my father, Chief Rabbi and Yeshiva Dean Rabbi Avraham Shapira zt"l described him as the President ("Nasi") of Jerusalem. The word "Nasi" refers to "elevating"  - King David wrote of "he who elevates  Jerusalem as his chief joy (Psalms 137)."

Dr. Moskowitz merited elevating Jerusalem and all of the Land of Israel.

My illustrious father's friendship with Dr. Moskowitz and his wife Cherna, may she merit long life, was a close one, filled with mutual affection and admiration. They helped and strengthened one another, employing their combined wisdom and idealism to purchase Beit Orot, Maale Zeitim, buildings adjacent to the Jaffa and Shechem Old City Gates. Much will yet be said about the great man and his deeds, his immeasurable contribution to enhancing the holiness of Jerusalem. Dr. Moskowitz was the man guarding the Walls of the Holy City, a man of wisdom and integrity.

Our forefather Isaac always symbolizes courage in Jewish history, not physical courage but the courage we thank G-d for in our morning blessings, the bravery of  the Jewish soul, steadfast and true to its lofty goals.

The earth of Jerusalem takes to her heart one of the best and greatest of those who have loved her and granted her their unconditional love throughout history, up until the glorious day described by the Prophet Zachariah when the Mount of Olives that Dr. Moskowitz so loved "will split in two" and "a source of life giving water will spring forth from Jerusalem" and the Redeemer's "feet will stand on the Mount of Olives," the dead will be resurrected, as G-d wills it to come to pass.

Dr. Moskowitz, thank G-d, left a large family, his wife and partner in all his good deeds, Cherna (may she merit long life), sons, daughters and more, all standing at his unblemished bedside, holding on to the folds of his robes as they continue his manifold mitzvot redeeming the nation, the land and the Torah. May you be comforted by Jerusalem!

Cherna and the late Dr. Irving Moskowitz with Rabbi Shapira zt"l INN:YK

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