Rabbi Pesach Zecharia Levovitz ZT”L was Dean of Betzalel Hebrew Day School here in Lakewood. This is a school he built along with some help from a few others. As you can imagine, that was quite a long time ago. Since those early years, Rabbi Levovitz ZT”L did so many wonderful things, and made a great name for himself in the Lakewood community.
I later attended Betzalel Hebrew Day School under the leadership of Rabbi Epstein. It was a great educational institution and had much to offer young Jewish boys at that time (1960-61). Lakewood was at the very beginning of a tremendous transformation that would span the next five decades and mark the Township as a major center and contributor to Orthodox Jewish education. That growth continues today and has brought with it, many great people and institutions.
I mention all of this, because paying tribute to this wonderful man brings back many memories. Rabbi Levovitz ZT”L, was at my Bar Mitzvah and had played a role at the time, in my quest to further study Torah. The Rabbi’s Schul was Sons of Israel and although I did not attend there, as a friend of my Father and Mother, he made himself available to us for whatever reasons we could think of to require his services and leadership. Some of the other Rabbi’s that surrounded me at that time were Rabbi Stanley Yedwab ZT”L and even a family friend, Cantor Lieber. Now, It is 46 years since my Barmitzvah…why is it that Rabbi Levovitz’s words can still come to me out of the blue…at any time…as if he is just saying them now? Derech eretz is an important part of grading a student in their overall achievements and accomplishment of Jewish education. Rabbi Levovitz ZT”L brought this to life when he spoke to you. Maybe his very proper manner…his Yiddishkeit…spoke in the background as his actual voice seemed to surround you…I don’t know.
In closing, I would like to cite that, in order for Lakewood to have sustained such tremendous growth, attracted a large population and built a beautiful center for Yiddish education, men like Rabbi Pesach Levovitz ZT”L, had to build all the precursors for the future. These men were visionaries and truly believed that the future could and would be better…and they put all of the building blocks in place to allow for future visionaries to pick up where they left off, continuing that growth. Thank you Rabbi Levovitz ZT”L, for your wisdom, your true caring and for leaving us with thoughts and philosophies for our future. I will always remember how you walked so softly, yet made an everlasting impression and a very deep imprint on our lives.
Eddy H. Pevovar, N.D., Ph.D. Candidate for the DrPH (Doctor of Public Health), Epidemiologist