This week marks the launch of a major grass root initiative in honor of Rabbi Meir Schuster, a legendary Jerusalem figure who has been bringing Jews back to their heritage since 1969.
Now in his sixties, Rabbi Schuster has been struck by Lewy Body Disease, a rare degenerative illness with symptoms similar to both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
For 40 years, stationed at the Western Wall, Reb Meir, as he known to his students, touched the lives of close to 100,000 Jewish young people. He brought tens of thousands to their first class in Jewish philosophy or their first Shabbat meal. Thousands stayed for a week or a month or ultimately decided to remain in Jerusalem to study.
Rav Noach Weinberg, of blessed memory described Rabbi Schuster as, “A model that inspired a generation of others who didn’t think they had ‘the right stuff’ to pursue kiruv ”
Said one of his students, “No one cared more deeply about a soul than Reb Meir Schuster.”
In more recent years, Rabbi Schuster founded Heritage House a youth hostel for tourists in the Old City of Jerusalem, and the Shorashim Torah Centers for Israelis. Both initiatives provide welcoming environments for Jews seeking more connection with their heritage.
Rabbi Michel Twerski, who knew Reb Meir when he was a boy in Milwaukee, describes the Reb Meir he became as “an unpretentious legend of our time. A rare figure of history who has touched so many lives through his profound authenticity.”
Now a group of Rabbi Schuster’s “students” have created a web site and online community where they are sharing photos, recollections and miraculous stories of Reb Meir.
You can learn more, and read some of these truly amazing and heartwarming “only-in-Jerusalem stories” at http://www.rebmeirschuster.org/.