BD”E: Rabbi Shmuel Kunda

[Baltimore Jewish Life]

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.

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

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.

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

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

After his chasunah 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, this humorous man with the passion for Torah always connected.

He personified the ben Torah who reveled in learning yet could joke about life and personify normality. He helped mold the Torah world of today and we owe him tremendous hakaras hatov.

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, who 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.

Reb Shmuel Z”L, who resided with family in Lakewood the last few years after becoming ill, was Niftar in Cleveland. His wife, Naomi A”H was Niftar in 2010.

Y’hi Zichro Baruch

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