Rabbi Dovid Kaminetsky, menahel of the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey (RYNJ) Middle School in River Edge, NJ, died suddenly Thursday, May 31, during the early morning hours. A stunned Teaneck community overflowed Congregation Bnai Yeshurun at 12:30 p.m. for the levaya. A traumatized RYNJ student body watched the funeral live on a screen in the yeshiva’s beis medrash. The burial took place in Beit Shemesh.
Rabbi Dovid Kaminetsky was born in Brooklyn on May 25, 1945. His father was the renowned Rabbi Dr. Joe Kaminetsky, Torah Umesorah’s decades-long director. R’ Dovid attended Yeshiva Toras Emes, Yeshiva Rabbi Jacob Joseph High School (for high school, yeshiva gedolah, and semicha), Brooklyn College, and Yeshiva University (for an MA in education). He married his neighborhood sweetheart, Sury Hochberg. They moved to Teaneck in 1970, becoming the 100th frum family in town.
Rabbi Kaminetsky held important positions in the world of Jewish education – principal of Manhattan Day School, principal of Moriah in Englewood, middle school principal at Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey, and national director of NCSY.
Rabbi Kaminetsky was loved by all his students. He made them feel important and made them feel that they were going to succeed. They felt he cared about them – because he genuinely did. Even in his 70s, Rabbi Kaminetsky went to every RYNJ hockey game, basketball game, and every other extracurricular activity. Rabbi Kaminetsky also attended and danced at every single student’s bar mitzvah – 80 of them each year.
Rabbi Kaminetsky was known as the “king of Jewish geography” and could tell you when Pesach would fall out in 20 years. He was funny, too, always having a clever quip. He got his students to enjoy Torah the way he did – and even to follow school rules. His daughter Lisa said, “Our father raised us to feel that teaching Torah was the greatest privilege in life.”
He was also serious about his own Torah study, learning Daf Yomi twice each day, plus Mishnah Yomi and Halacha Yomi.
Rabbi Daniel Price, RYNJ Head of School, told The Jewish Press, “Chinuch isn’t just about educating children. It is about loving children. Rabbi Dovid Kaminetsky loved the children of Klal Yisrael with his whole heart.”
Rabbi Kaminetsky directed Camp Magen Av for two decades and ran the Bnai Yeshurun teen minyan for even longer. He and his wife often would host children from non-observant backgrounds for Shabbos meals.
Mrs. Shulamis Hes, an RYNJ parent, related, “Rabbi Kaminetsky encouraged all growth-fostering activities for his students. He designed and oversaw the details of both kodesh and chol programs at RYNJ from a minyan-in-training for the 6th grade boys to a girls’ soccer team. To him all was part of chinuch. The day before his unexpected passing, Rabbi K. bestowed his trademark hanachat tefillin blessing to my son.”
On a more familial note, his son Rav Yisrael said, “My parents, during their 52 years of marriage, were role models for shalom bayis, respecting each other and having a positive atmosphere at home.
Rabbi Dovid Kaminetsky is survived by his wife, Mrs. Sury Kaminetsky; siblings, Mrs. Nechama Steinhardt (Brooklyn), Mr. Judah Kaminetsky (Florida), Mrs. Symie Liff (Jerusalem), and Mrs. Phyllis Reiss (Edison); children, Rabbi Yisrael and Elisheva Kaminetsky (Woodmere), Shimmi and Beth Kaminetsky (Boca Raton), Rabbi Yosef and Lisa Zakutinsky (Far Rockaway), and Daniel and Heather Kaminetsky (Bergenfield); and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.