Brooklyn, NY – Borough Park Mourns Beloved Tzedaka Collector


    FILE - R’ Yehoshua Mordechai Kahana (via twitter)Brooklyn, NY – Several hundred people gathered outside the Satmar Shul on 53rd Street in Borough Park tonight for the levaya of a long time tzedaka collector who was a fixture in local shuls.

    R’ Yehoshua Mordechai Kahana died this afternoon after succumbing to serious internal injuries sustained when he was hit by a bicycle on Shabbos as he was crossing the street at 13th Avenue and 53rd Street, just yards from his own home.

    R’ Kahana had no children and was believed to be 83 years old at the time of his petira. A diminutive man who suffered from Parkinson’s disease and had difficulty walking, R’ Kahana made the rounds of local shuls daily as he collected money for widows and orphans.

    “His mission in life was to support almonos and yesomim and for the last forty or fifty years he collected for tzedaka every day even though walking was hard for him,” Shamshi Segedin, who sat several rows behind R’ Kahana in shul, told VIN News.

    “He went around every morning collecting tzedaka in batei medrashim and at night he would go to chasanas to collect money,” added another mispallel at the Satmar Shul. “Thursday nights he would go almonos and give them money he had collected for them. His whole life he didn’t need anything for himself.”

    According to some sources, its estimated that R’ Kahana, who would go from person to person collecting dollar bills, would raise approximately a quarter of a million dollars annually for tzedaka, with much of the funds raised distributed in Israel.

    “He was frail, not tall, I don’t even know that he reached a height of five foot one or five foot two and looking at him you would have no expectations. But he was just non-stop and kept on going. It was mind boggling.”

    Originally from Tzefas, R’ Kahana came to America approximately forty years ago for medical reasons and shortly after his arrival here, doctors successfully treated him for a brain tumor.

    “Baruch Hashem they were matzliach and he got these extra years,” said the acquaintance from the Satmar Shul. “The only thing he did in his life after that was collect tzedaka and learn, day and night.”
    Hundreds attend funeral of R' Kahana at the Satmar Shul on 53rd St. in Borough Park section of Brooklyn, NY. (Arya Rabinovits/
    R’ Kahana believed in starting his day not with davening but with doing mitzvos, going first to collect money before heading to Shul.

    “He was in Shul every single day,” said Segedin. “He never came late and nothing bothered him even though over the years as he got older it got harder for him every day. He could hardly walk, would just go a foot at a time but he would go from shul to shul, in the rain in the snow. No matter how many feet of snow there would be, he was there, collecting tzedaka.”

    A large crowd turned out at the Satmar Shul for the levaya, which took place at 6 PM tonight and the maspidim included the Satmar Rov, R’ Berish Meisels, theSatmar Dayan, R’ Moshe Friedman, Reb Sholem Lazer Broner, the Tenka Rov, and Reb Yossel Weinberg, with kevura to take place in Israel.

    “He was so ehrlich, mamash like from the alte heim, everything by the book,” said Segedin. “You don’t find people like that today. He was mamesh a lamed vovnik.”

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