Builder of American Chabad

By Hershel Rosenbluh for Anash.org

7 Cheshvan is the yahrtzeit of Reb Shlomo Aron Kazarnovsky.

Born in 5657/1897, Reb Shlomo Aron was a talmid of the Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim in Lubavitch. In 5680/1920, He married Chaya Freida, the daughter of Reb Osher Grossman -known as Osher Niklayever – who was entrusted by the Rebbe Rashab to review and print the newly prepared Tanya in Vilna in 5660/1900.

Reb Osher had entrusted the Rebbe Rashab with the nadan for his unmarried daughter before he passed away in Cheshvan of 5680/1919. After the histalkus of the Rebbe Rashab, the money was passed over to the Frierdiker Rebbe. When young Shlomo Aron came to ask the Frierdiker Rebbe about the Grossman shidduch, the Frierdiker Rebbe went to the ohel of his father and returned with a haskama. After the shidduch was closed, the money was handed over to the chosson.

In 1927 the couple left the USSR and traveled to the United States, first to Rochester, New York, and then two years later to Brooklyn, where he was appointed as rov in a large shul in Bensonhurst.

In 5698/1938, Achos Tmimim was founded to give girls the opportunity to learn and farbreng in the spirit of Chabad chassidus, just like Achei Tmimim. Rabbi Kazarnovsky was appointed as one of three mashpiim to teach the girls, the other two being Reb Yisroel Jacobson and Reb Yochonon Gordon.

On 11 Shvat 5702/1942, he was involved – as a memeber of the board of Agudas Chabad – in the purchase of the Chabad section in the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens. The first person to be buried there was Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah, who passed away only two days later, on the 13th of Shvat.

Reb Shlomo Aron was from the yoshvim rishona b’malchus – literally. At every event, he was up in the front. When the Rebbe traveled to the ohel he would often travel along in the car.

Reb Shlomo Aron was in charge of finding a suitable house for the Frierdiker Rebbe. Late in 5700/1940, 770 Eastern Parkway was purchased and he took charge of the building fund. Naturally, he also took charge of the 5719-5720/ 1959-1960 expansion of 770’s shul.

Later, Reb Shlomo Aron took responsibility for finding a home for the Rebbe and Rebbetzin.

For many years, he served on the board of Agudas Chabad in the US. He also was part of the hanholoh of Beis Rivkah and Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch. Monumental projects such as the printing of the Sdei Chemed and the responsa of the Tzemach Tzedek were completed due to his efforts.

In 5716/1956, the Rebbe sent Rabbi Kazarnovsky as his shliach to the Chanukas Habayis of the newly established Beit Sefer L’Melachah in Kfar Chabad. From then until his passing, he ran the American office for the institution.

A writer once heard from Reb Avrohom Rosenfeld of Boro Park that Reb Shlomo Aron would walk from Bensonhurst to 770 on Pesach. On the way he’d bring along matzoh. He’d say “m’est elokus!” = we’re eating G-dliness!.

He passed away on this day in 5743/1982. On his matzeivoh the follwing was inscribed:

עסק במרץ בעד מוסדות חב”ד באה”ק, ומנוטעי כרם חב”ד בארה”ב, מקורב ופעל רבות בעד בית חיינו, וחיבה יתירה נודעת לו מנשיאינו, כהן בקודש על משמרתו ברבנות יותר מיובל שנים, הרביץ תורה וחסידות וקירב לבבות בפרט בין הנוער ליהדות עד יומו האחרון.

“He worked diligently for Chabad Institutions in Eretz Yisroel, and was among those who “planted” the Chabad “vineyard” in the United States. He worked hard for Bais Chayenu, and was especially loved by the Rebbeim. He served his congregation loyally for over 50 years, spread Torah and chassidus and brought many back to Yiddishkeit – especially the youth – until his last day.”

His descendants include many chassidim and shluchim who carry on his work.

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