for a year of college and was staying at a youth hostel in Jerusalem where I met some other kids who werenâ€™t Jewish. I had been to Israel before DQG,EHFDPHWKHRIĂ€FLDOWRXUJXLGHIRU the day.â€? Taking his friends the Old City, Apisdorf and his friends found themselves at the Kosel, where he was approached by Râ€™ Schuster. â€œHe wanted to take me to a Shabbos meal but I told him I was with friends. He asked me if they were Jewish and when I told him that they werenâ€™t he told me to just go with him. I told him it wasnâ€™t nice to just leave them but he insisted that I do exactly that and we got into a big argument. I was a liberal college kid and I ended up shouting at him until Ă€QDOO\ KH VDLG ÂśFRPH EDFN WRPRUURZ and I will take you to a class.â€™â€? The class was 48 Ways to Wisdom, given by Râ€™ Noach Weinberg. â€œI went to one and that got the ball rolling for me,â€? said Apisdorf. In time, Apisdorf found himself joining Râ€™ Schuster, helping him deliver people to the Jerusalem homes where they would enjoy what was SRVVLEO\WKHLUĂ€UVWHYHU6KDEERVPHDO â€œFriday night he would collect ten, twenty, sixty or seventy people at the Kotel and just drop them off at various peopleâ€™s houses,â€? recalled Apisodorf. â€œI spent many Friday nights at Râ€™ Schusterâ€™s home, sometimes sleeping there, and seeing him up close and personal, I can tell you that devotion isnâ€™t even a proper word to describe Reb Meir. The entirety of his being was completely focused on his mission. Nothing else existed. Nothing got in his way, stopped him, deterred him, got him down or slowed him down. He just went and went and went. The next person, the next day, day after day, year after year. He just never stopped.â€? As a father raising a family of his own, Apisdorf would tell his children about his encounters with Râ€™ Schuster. â€œI would tell my children that I donâ€™t know if I ever met one of the lamed vav tzadikim, but if I did, I am
involved in the relationship with Hakadosh Baruch Hu and everything he did was an outgrowth of that.â€? What made Râ€™ Schusterâ€™s efforts so monumental was that while today there are numerous kiruv programs in operation, things were far different just a few decades ago. â€œFrom the early 70â€™s to the mid 80â€™s, before there were so many sophisticated outreach programs, a huge percentage of the people who ended up coming through Ohr Somayach, Aish Hatorah, Neve Yerushalayim, Dâ€™var Yerushalayim and Diaspora Yeshiva, the early pillars of the kiruv movement, came because of Reb Meir,â€? said Apisdorf. â€œHe had QR DIĂ€OLDWLRQ WR DQ\ RQH SODFH +H brought people to the place he thought best suited their needs.â€? Dovid Winiarz, president of Survival Through Education, saw Râ€™ Schuster as a both a source of inspiration and a personal role model. â€œI can tell you that, Reb Meir, always loomed larger than life and was the most amateur professional the kiruv world has ever known,â€? said Winiarz. â€œI say amateur because he just did what â€˜regular peopleâ€™ can do. I say professional because he made it his business to do it.â€? Râ€™ Schuster founded Heritage Hostel, a youth hostel for Jewish sure it was Reb Meir Schuster. When young adults in the Jewish Quarter of he would come to fundraise in our the Old City in 1985, providing tens home town of Baltimore, I would take RIWKRXVDQGVRIXQDIĂ€OLDWHG-HZVIUHH them to see him and they would say, subsidized lodging, with separate â€˜Wow, Abba is taking us to meet the buildings for men and women. Also available, for those who lamed vav tzaddik who he met.â€™ That choose to participate, are introductory was what I would tell my kids about classes to Judaism and programs for Reb Meir.â€™â€? Shabbos and yomim tovim, as well According to Apisdorf, Râ€™ as free internet, international phone Schusterâ€™s davening was nothing lines, laundry service and tours. short of remarkable. Despite being diagnosed with Â´+LVWHĂ€OODZDVQRWWREHEHOLHYHGÂľ Lewy Body disease six years ago, Râ€™ said Apisdorf. â€œIt was an intense Schuster continued his outreach personal conversation with Hakadosh Baruch Hu and basically, he was often efforts for as long as possible, hoping yelling at Hashem and demanding to catch just one more neshama, to things from Hashem. There is no change just one more life. Even as question that he was demonstratively Râ€™ Schuster continued to deteriorate engaged in an intense personal physically, his larger than life spirit interaction. He was completely seemed indomitable.
â€œI would tell my children that I donâ€™t know if I ever met one of the lamed vav tzadikim, but if I did, I am sure it was Reb Meir Schuster.â€?
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