By Eli Rubin and Menachem Posner – Chabad.org
Rabbi Meir Roness – a longtime resident of the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., who dedicated his life to the dissemination of Chassidic teachings – passed away on Jan. 13, just one day after celebrating his 74th birthday.
As a young bochur, Roness worked with Rabbi Dovid Raskin, chairman of the Lubavitch Youth Organization, organizing and sustaining classes in Chassidus for non-Lubavitch youth throughout the tri-state area.
The efforts were a direct response to the pioneering call of the Lubavitcher Rebbe – Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory – to advance the welfare of Jews everywhere, not only physically but spiritually.
Roness and his fellow yeshivah students took the Rebbe’s message seriously, traveling near and far to give classes and talks, and to organize study groups. While many of his friends joined in the effort, it would be hard to find someone who surpassed the good-heartedness and single-mindedness with which Roness dedicated himself to his mission.
For more than 50 years, he continued his efforts uninterrupted. Though he aged physically, his spirit remained youthfully exuberant, and he continued to work diligently on behalf of Lubavitch Youth Organization. Roness considered his work to be a privilege, and he made it his mission to share that privilege with others, inviting everyone he encountered to make a small donation towards Lubavitch Youth Organization’s ongoing programs.
With a wad of bills in his hand and a pocket full of change, he could be seen making his rounds in the Crown Heights neighborhood, approaching one person after another with warm greetings and an uplifting word. In the mornings, he circulated in the synagogues; in the evenings, he made a brief stop at every engagement and wedding celebration in town, energetically congratulating the celebrants and encouraging their generosity.
Within the Crown Heights community, he was a familiar and beloved presence. An individual of unsurpassed warmth, sincerity and devotion, everyone knew that it was Roness who was being generous; he was not there to seek aid, but to enable an individual to participate in a greater good.
In his quiet and humble way—and over the course of more than half a century—Roness helped introduce Chassidic teachings to tens of thousands of individuals.
One of the programs Roness supported is the weekly “Thursday Night Chassidus” program at Yeshiva University in New York.
Each Thursday evening, 30 bochurim from Oholei Torah travel over an hour each way by subway to learn Sichos one on one with YU students. The successful program continually packs the Klein Beis Medresh at Yeshiva University.
For the past 40 years, Roness has been raising the funds for the popular classes, providing money for transportation, learning materials and refreshments, Ezra Kaplan, a student in Oholei Torah who helps organize the program, told COLlive.
The group of bochurim who organize this year’s program is unsure how they will raise funds to continue, they said. They are also raising funds for the annual upcoming Shabbaton, which takes place in February. Each year, nearly 100 YU students spend an inspiring Shabbos in Crown Heights, davening in 770 and joining meals and farbrengens with Shluchim and Rabbis in the community.
“Rabbi Roness kept the YU programs running for so many years,” said Kaplan, “and so many have benefitted from them. We hope that generous donors will come forward to help us continue.”
To help sponsor the Thursday night Chassidus program at YU, please email: [email protected]