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A Legend In His Time: Rabbi Shmuel Kunda z”l


It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rabbi Shmuel Kunda z”l, a legendary mechanech who, in original and uplifting ways, inspired generations of youngsters and adults with his creative chinuch presentations and productions.

He was 66 years old.

Rav Shmuel, together with his wife Naomi, built a beautiful family of bnei and bnos Torah.

Rav Shmuel, formerly of Boro Park, Brooklyn, resided for the last while in Lakewood, NJ, and then Cleveland. He was born in Shaghai and later came over to the United States.

Starting his career as a Pirchei leader in Boro Park, Rabbi Kunda became a world-renowned mechanech, who over the years released books and tapes that inspired both children and adults around the world.

Rabbi Kunda was a son of Rav Zalman Kunda zt”l, a prominent Alter Mirrer who married his rebbetzin, of Mishpachas Podrabinik, in Shanghai where Rav Shmuel was born in 1946 before they left for America.

Rav Shmuel was a leader of the Boro Park Pirchei (14th Avenue branch) and founder of the Zeirei minyan led by Rav Baruch Saks for many years.

A talmid of the Mirrer Yeshiva in Flatbush, Rav Shmuel was especially close to the rosh yeshiva, Rav Shmuel Berenbaum, and the mashgiach Rav Hirsh Feldman, zichronam livracha.

Upon his marriage in 1970, Rav Shmuel began his teaching career as fifth grade rebbi at Yeshiva Tiferes Torah of Boro Park led by Rabbi Shaya Jacobson. Those early talmidim can attest to his energy and spirit which, combined with his artistic talents and storytelling abilities, lifted them out of their adolescent daydreaming and imbued in them the cheishek to grow in Torah.

A born mechanech, Rav Shmuel was able to connect to kids of all ages, and whether it was through his tapes and storybooks, at his summer camp, or in his classroom, the humorous man with the passion for Torah always connected.

He personified the ben Torah who revels in learning yet can joke about life and personify normality. He helped mold the Torah world of today and we owe him a great debt.

A man of truly unparalleled talent, Rav Shmuel was a trailblazer in his field. His works have never been duplicated and they continue to inspire and uplift countless people to this day.

Mrs. Kunda, who passed away two years ago, was an integral partner of Rav Shmuel’s work, serving as the consummate eizer kenegdo to her husband.

Rabbi Kunda will be sorely missed by the many people whose hearts he touched and who he inspired with his smile, his good cheer, his warm words of chizuk, and his creativity.

Rabbi Kunda’s many albums and children’s tapes include When Zaidy Was Young Part 1 and 2, Boruch Learns His Brochos, The Magic Yarmulke, A Ton of Mon, Boruch Learns About Shabbos, The Longest Pesach, There’s Zaidy, Zaidy’s Great Idea, Where’s Zaidy, The Talking Coins, The Royal Rescue, and The Miraculous Menorah.

Rabbi Kunda was the indisputable leader in Jewish entertainment for children, also authoring many famous and acclaimed titles.

Rabbi Kunda was a remarkable artist, author, composer, lyricist and actor, and he utilized the gifts granted to him by the Ribono Shel Olam to imbue children and adults with an appreciation of Torah and mitzvos.

In addition, Rabbi Kunda also inspired and educated many youngsters during his years as director of Camp Ne’arim in the Pocono Mountains.

Rav Shmuel is survived by his children and grandchildren who follow in his ways.

The levaya will be held Wednesday, at 1 p.m., at the Seventh Street Holocaust Memorial Chapel of Congregation Sons of Israel in Lakewood, NJ.

Yehi zichro boruch.

{Noam Newscenter}