The venerable askan Reb Mordechai Friedman is slated to receive the prestigious Rabbi Moshe Sherer Memorial Award at the upcoming 91st anniversary dinner of Agudath Israel of America, May 5, at the New York Hilton.
Mr. Friedman grew up in the town of Groswardein, Hungary. He inherited his love for Agudas Yisroel from his father, Reb Avraham Yitzchok Friedman, one of the early activists in Agudas Yisroel who traveled to Vienna in 1929 to participate in the organization’s second Knessia Gedolah. During the war years, the Friedman family was heavily involved in rescue and relief activities on behalf of European Jewry and helped in the escape of the Bobov and Vizhnitzer Rebbes.
Reb Mordechai has carried on this illustrious tradition of klal activism. Over the years he has been involved with helping many mosdos HaTorah, chairing numerous events for the institutions of Rav Moshe Feinstein, the Satmar Rebbe, the Skulener Rebbe, and more. Since moving to Flatbush in 1967, his home has been a regular meeting place for Chesed l’Avraham, in addition to many other causes. He is also a leader in the Muzheier Rebbe’s shul where he instituted daf yomi and said a pre-dawn shiur for over 25 years.
Mr. Friedman’s involvement over many years in the work of Agudath Israel of America brought him into close contact with the legendary Rabbi Moshe Sherer, with whom he enjoyed not only a productive working relationship but also a close personal relationship. “For us younger askanim,” noted Mr. Shlomo Werdiger, Agudath Israel’s recently installed chairman of the board, “the warmth between Reb Mordechai and Rabbi Sherer, l’havdil bein chayim l’chayim, was always a source of true inspiration.”
“Agudas Yisroel is fortunate to honor an askan of the caliber of Reb Mordechai Friedman,” said Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Agudath Israel’s executive vice president. “He has been a model of responsible askanus for well over half-a-century, and he still remains active as ever–ad mei’ah v’esrim!”
The Rabbi Moshe Sherer Memorial Award, established in 2000, two years after the passing of the unforgettable Agudath Israel leader, is the organization’s highest honor. “The Rabbi Sherer Award is reserved for individuals who have displayed lifelong devotion to Klal Yisrael,” said Rabbi Labish Becker, Agudath Israel’s executive director. “Mr. Friedman certainly fits the bill.”
“As a community we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Reb Mordechai whose entire life has been about the needs of Klal Yisrael,” said Dr. David Diamond, who will chair this year’s Agudath Israel dinner. “On May 5, we will have an opportunity to say yasher koi’ach in a big way to this extraordinary individual. Let’s all be part of it.” v