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Moshe Menora’s Light Shines On

Shimmy Blum

On the 2nd of Av, tragedy engulfed the Jewish community on hearing of the horrific plane crash that claimed the lives of Skokie, Illinois businessman Moshe Menora and his 3 granddaughters, Rikki and Rachel Menora, and Sara Klein, a”h, who were visiting from Israel. His grandson, Yossi Menora, who survived the crash with severe burns, is being treated at a Michigan hospital. Moshe, a skilled pilot, had taken his visiting grandchildren on a trip to Michigan, on his aircraft, which crashed on their way home.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Following his childhood in Haifa and Tel Aviv, Moshe married Sema, the daughter of prominent Chicago Rabbi Leibel Chaimovitz, z”l, in 1960, and moved to Chicago, where they lived for approximately four decades. About ten years ago, the couple moved to the nearby suburb of Skokie.

While his tragic petirah made international headlines, Moshe Menora’s friends and community members relate that many of his lifetime activities did not.

From his home in Yerushalayim, Rabbi Shlomo Morgenstern, shlita, who spent decades in both Chicago and Skokie and served as the rosh yeshivah of the Skokie Yeshiva, shared some memories of his longtime friend. He recalls Moshe as a “very sharp” successful businessman with some characteristics unusual for a man of his means.

“On the one hand he was a gevir, on the other hand he was tzanua. He lived simply. He didn’t purchase his plane for fun; he bought it to save time on his frequent business travels across America. When he donated money to a cause, he didn’t want people to know. He didn’t want to be honored or have his name hanging on a plaque publicly.”

Dr. Yigal Yahav, a prominent Israeli-born Chicago dentist who was close friends with Moshe, relates similar memories of the niftar’s community contributions. “In Chicago, Moshe was known by everyone as a humble and modest person. If there was a crisis, Moshe was there to help in his own quiet way. I was often involved with him in different projects and he always insisted that no one should find out his involvement or what he gave.”

He relates that causes in Eretz Yisrael carried a special place in his friend’s heart. “He expressed his love for Israel in so many ways. When I was raising funds for the Oz organization that helps Israeli children with tutoring and afternoon activities, Moshe helped so generously. When I collected for a sefer Torah in Yerushalayim, Moshe was the first one to jump and help the project. Yet, he refused to travel to the hachnassas sefer Torah ceremony; he simply didn’t want the attention. I remember once traveling with him to Israel to visit a start-up company that we invested in. He didn’t see it as a business investment; he got emotionally involved. He wanted to help the engineers and workers there, some of whom were poor immigrants.”


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