Monsey Memories: Rav Moshe Aaron Stern, zt”l
By: Yitzy Fried
The year was 1942, and the war was raging in Europe. All Americans of age were compelled to fill out draft cards—which is where we find one such a card filled out for “Moses Aaron Stern, Main Street & Maple Avenue (the address of Beis Medrash Elyon), Monsey, Rockland County.”
The name and address of the person who would always know his address was “Rabbi Paul (Shrage Feivel) Mendlowitz, while his family’s residence is listed on South 9th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Rav Moshe Aaron would go on to become the mashgiach of the Kamenitzer Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, where he would shape thousands in the ways of Torah and mussar. He spent his own formative years in Torah Vodaas, and was among the elite chaburah of Beis Medrash Elyon in Monsey of the 1940’s, and it is on account of this that we profile him here.
He was born in Williamsburg in the year 1925. His father was Reb Eliezer Lippmann, and his mother Chaya Esther, who was the daughter of the legendary Rav Yaakov Yosef Herman of the Lower East Side.
When he was a young boy, he became very ill, and was nearly at death’s door. He resolved to never miss davening with a minyan—a resolution that he would keep with great mesirus nefesh for all of his life, as the following story attests:
Once, he was traveling internationally, and scheduled his trip in such a way that he would have a layover in Amsterdam in time to make shachris in Shul. As he emerged from the airport, he came face to face with an enormous snow storm. He stood there forlornly, sure that all of his efforts were for naught, when a Yid came by in a car and offered him a lift to the shul, where they turned out to be the ninth and tenth men for the minyan.
In Torah Vodaas, he learned under Rav Simcha Sheps, and later with Rav Shraga Feivel in Monsey.
Following this, he journeyed to Eretz Yisroel and learned under the Brisker Rov. He married into the famed Kroizer mishpacha, and remained living in Eretz Yisroel for the rest of his life.
As the mashgiach of the Kamenitzer Yeshiva, he delivered mussar shmuessen that would draw people from throughout the city. Tzaddikim attested that he truly lived up to the things about which he spoke.
He was niftar in 1998 and interred on Har Hazeisim.