Thousands of Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidim walked slowly on Monday afternoon behind a small black hearse as it rolled down a service road on Eastern Parkway. The sea of black hats gradually drifted down the service road from Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway, crossed Kingston Avenue and passed NCFJE headquarters, coming to the corner of a side road where it was possible to return to the main artery.
That was where the vehicle carrying the body of Rabbi Avraham Lider, obm, turned on to the main road, and headed out of the neighborhood towards the highway and on towards the cemetery where the rabbi could be laid to rest.
There was of course no way to soothe the aching void left in the hearts of those left behind in the neighborhood.
So many people in the Crown Heights Chabad-Lubavitch community are stunned at the loss of a man who was a walking encyclopedia of medical contacts and other information; although Rabbi Lider began his career as a Pre-1A rebbe at Yeshiva Oholei Torah in the neighborhood, he was constantly helping those in need – particularly those with medical issues – and with funding if that was an issue as well.
So many have questions on their minds about who will now head his very active medical referral and case management organization, Ahavas Chesed, founded in 1995 and run by Rabbi Lider at first from his home and then later from an office.
During the pandemic, Rabbi Lider worked around the clock to help patients at various hospitals, connecting families with doctors, and delivering packages to patients from worried families while hospitals were on lockdown. He helped organize blood plasma drives in the neighborhood, where hundreds of COVID-19 survivors donated blood to be shipped nationwide to help coronavirus patients.
It was completely unexpected that on Friday night, the first night of the new Jewish Year, Rosh Hashana, Rabbi Avraham Lider, 61, would be struck down with a sudden, massive heart attack.
Rabbi Lider is survived by his wife, Tema, and children Dovid, Naftoli, Shmuly, Malky and Bassie, as well as siblings Shlomo, Yaakov, Nechama, Malka and Yehuda.
His organization must survive. Ahavas Chesed has an emergency hotline available 24/7. It offers medical transportation, emergency medical assistance, medical supplies on loan, blood drives, medical advice and referrals and kosher meals to those who are in hospitals. The organization also has a WhatsApp group that connects medical patients and their families with assistance as well.
Ahavas Chesed – the love of human kindness — is the legacy of a man who cherished human life above all else, but it is also the work of those who believe in what it represents: care and support for those who need a little help when they are most vulnerable. For more information or to donate in Rabbi Lider’s memory, click here.
Baruch Dayan Ha’Emes