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The world has lost one of its brightest lights with the indescribably woeful passing of Rabbi Mordechai Rindenow.
The year was 1978 when Rabbi Rindenow, with his wife and two young children, aged 18 months and 4 weeks, drove across the country in answer to the call to teach at the Lisa Kampner Hebrew Academy in San Francisco. And there he stayed for years, forming loving friendships with his students. It was a matter of course that Rabbi Rindenow would be found at many of the most important life passages of his once-upon-a-time students now grown to adulthood.
He was a direct descendant of the founder of the Chernobyl Hasidic dynasty, and his own love of Torah was self-evident at every step and contagious with every glance. But he brought so much more to everyone in his life than formal Torah education. His very gaze was healing. His laughter was a reminder that happiness could easily be shared. His smile was his signature welcome. Never judgmental, everyone felt graceful in his presence. His LKHA students, his adult education students, his friends and, yes, even strangers he would sometimes greet on the street were all important to Rabbi Rindenow.
Given his love for humankind, his talent for understanding what drives people’s conduct, his innate sympathy and his desire to see others doing well (and his degrees in psychology from both Columbia and Fordham universities), it is no surprise that he came into his own as, in addition to a revered teacher, a beloved psychologist.
His own children? Yes. Many of them brought into this loving Rindenow family. Although he knew a great deal of joy in his life, he endured the most dreadful sorrow a parent can suffer, the death of a child. His son Shlomo tragically died in Israel in an IDF training accident in 2016. Six of his children had already moved to Israel.
He and his wife, Mindy, made aliyah four months ago to live out their lives in Israel. He was still young, vigorous and looking forward to each new day with his usual helpings of glee.
Rabbi Rindenow has been laid to rest next to his cherished son Shlomo. He is survived by his treasured wife Mindy, his adored children Abbi, Yocheved, Akiva, Baruch, Nachum, Bayla, Moshe, Gamliel and Jeffrey David Tower, and a generous abundance of beautiful grandchildren.
He has been taken from us too soon, and we grieve as a united group that spans generations and countries. But gone? Never. He will be forever entrenched in the hearts of everyone who was blessed by knowing him.
There will be a Zoom memorial service on Sunday, Feb. 21 at 10 a.m. PST (San Francisco), 1 p.m. EST (New York) and 8 p.m. Israel time. For login information, email email@example.com.
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