June 20, 2020 From Refugee to Royalty: Rav Shneur & Rebbitzin Rishel Kotler
Among the great builders of Torah of the twentieth century were Rav Shneur (1918-1982) & Rebbetzin Rishel Kotler (1923-2015).
At times overshadowed by his illustrious father Rav Aharon, Rav Shneur's accomplishments were wide ranging and impressive in their own right. As a young refugee, he lived by his grandfather Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer in Yerushalayim, arriving in the United States after the war. With his characteristic simplicity and modesty, he'd go on to preside over the exponential growth of the Lakewood Yeshiva following his father's passing. This was in addition to his myriad communal responsibilities, along with his own initiatives such as the opening of a string of Kollels across the fruited plain.
The Friedman family was among the most prominent Torah and mussar families first in Memel and later in Kovna. Young Rishel would be exposed to the leading Rabbinical scholars of the day through her parents hospitality. Fleeing to Shanghai while her fiancee was on the other side of the world, they finally married after the war. Surviving her husband by more than three decades, she oversaw the growth and expansion of the Yeshiva, while monitoring its activities behind the scenes.
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