The levayah of Aaron Shalom Tepfer, a 10-year-old talmid of Yeshiva Darchei Torah who was suddenly niftar last year mere days before the start of the school year, was a heart-rending event. Speaker after speaker described the remarkable maturity and concern for others that Aaron Shalom possessed. Grown men cried uninhibitedly as the yeshiva and community absorbed this difficult blow.
In the days, weeks, and months following his passing, relatives, rebbeim, friends, and even total strangers have transformed their grief into inspiration, undertaking a variety of initiatives in Aaron Shalom’s memory that serve as an aliyah for his neshamah as well as impetuses for personal improvement. One of these projects is about to reach its culmination.
Yitzy Berko, now a seventh-grader, was a classmate of Aaron Shalom. One day he came up with an idea: What better way to perpetuate the memory and legacy of his friend, who loved to learn Torah, than with a sefer Torah? The Torah would be written as a zechus for Aaron Shalom and when completed would be housed in the aronkodesh of the junior high school, where it would be used by the boys in their minyan for many years to come.
In an emotional appeal to his fellow talmidim, Yitzy Berko explained: “Fifty years from now, in this beis medrash, a boy is going to ask his rebbe, ‘When was this sefer Torah given?’ The rebbe is going to say, ‘The entire junior high school decided to raise [funds] for a seferTorah in Aaron Shalom’s zechus.’”
Doing some quick math, Yitzy realized that to reach his goal of raising $54,000, all he needed was for 1,000 families to contribute an average of 54 dollars! The campaign, spearheaded by SganMenahel Rav Avrohom Bender, is nearly complete; the sefer Torah was written in Eretz Yisrael, and a hachnasasseferTorah is planned for this Sunday, September 14.
The events will begin at the Tepfer home, 376 Rugby Road in Cedarhurst, 12:00—3:00 p.m., with the inscription of the final letters of the seferTorah. At 3:40 the festivities will resume at 12-14 Heyson Road in Far Rockaway, for the hachnasasseferTorah procession to the yeshiva.
For more information, or to contribute, please contact Rabbi Avrohom Bender at 347-254-0155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.