By Shloime Dachs
It’s hard to believe 19 years have passed since the untimely petirah of Michoel Adler, a’h, just two months after his bar mitzvah. Many of us vividly remember his contagious smile and eidel demeanor. It seems like yesterday that Michoel stood proudly in shul before family and friends, eloquently and perfectly reciting the Shabbos leining of Parashas Mikeitz, Shabbos Rosh Chodesh, and Shabbos Chanukah. Following his beautiful leining, Michoel delivered a comprehensive derashah with clarity, confidence, and maturity beyond his years.
In his memory, Michoel’s parents, Yanky and Ella Adler, started Matnas Michoel. To date, this wonderful organization has distributed over 725 pairs of tefillin to poor families who cannot afford to buy their child the most precious and cherished gift, every bar mitzvah boy yearns to don every day. In addition, the Adlers often provide a suit, hat, tie, shirts, and shoes as well, to ensure and keep the pride, dignity, and joy intact during this most special time. What a tremendous zechus for Michoel’s holy neshamah, as he looks down from the Kisei HaKavod with that famous smile and watches his dedicated family help boys at the most auspicious time of their lives.
Twelve years ago, the Adlers began an annual Motzaei Shabbos evening called “A Kumsits with the Stars” to help raise funds. The calls from needy families were increasing year to year, and so a beautiful evening of song and inspiration was born. I had the zechus of singing at the very first kumsits with Avraham Fried and several other years with a variety of many other dedicated Jewish music entertainers who donate their services for this worthy cause. This past Sunday at my home, I once again had the honor of participating at this annual event. It was another elegant event that featured the one and only singer/composer Abie Rottenberg from Toronto.
In addition to Abie’s beautiful rendition of his “Mi ka’amcha Yisrael,” which was dedicated to Yanky and Ella Adler for their heroic and tireless efforts on behalf of Matnas Michoel, Abie also performed many of his “Journeys” and “Dveykus” classics. This was Abie’s first appearance for Matnas Michoel. My personal highlight was the honor of singing a medley of both our “HaMalachs.” Coming off last year’s moving kumsits by Baruch Levine, and two years ago surprise guest performer Shloime Gertner from London, Abie’s performance and melodic voice created one emotional spectacular event. Special thank-you to my wife Libby for allowing us to open our home and host such an incredible unique organization.
Yanky and Ella coordinate every detail of the purchasing and distributing of every pair of tefillin and article of clothing. Matnas Michoel pays for everything in its entirety with absolutely no overhead or administrative costs, and 100% of every dollar donated goes directly to benefit these bar mitzvah boys. Matnas Michoel is located at 659 East 7th Street in Brooklyn. For donations and more information, call 718-851-0042. Sponsorship opportunities: $850 sponsors a pair of tefillin; $1,400 sponsors tefillin and full outfit for the bar mitzvah boy.
May Michoel ben Yaakov’s pure neshamah continue to be a meilitz yosher for all of Klal Yisrael. v