I came to see for myself these nine young Rabbis who had just arrived on the shores of Montreal from Shanghai on Erev Shabbos. On the first Shabbos, I came to the place where they were eating their Shabbos meal and I was in total awe and the rest is history. I remember they had a special guest Rabbi Shmuel Levitin who was sent by the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe to help them. The very next day, they started a class and I told my parents that I did not want to learn at my public school anymore, I wanted to learn in the NEW school. Rabbi Kramer changed the course of my life. In order to get more students, Rabbi Kramer went to the store, ‘Peerless Clothing’ where young boys were working and he got permission for them to come learn in the new Yeshiva for part of the day.
Once when I was a little boy aged 8 my parents were away and I stayed with the Kramer’s family for a few days. I was outside the Yeshiva playing and another youngster pushed me into the bushes. I wanted to tell my father but he was out of town and Rabbi Kramer was in charge of me so I went to him while he was in Shule davenning. Rabbi Kramer came out of the Shule and found the boy who did it and he gave him a bit of a telling off and this meant a lot to me. I remember this incident to this day many many years down the track.
From: A. L.
I worked at Beth Rivkah for 16 years and Rabbi Kramer was the top man and I would present myself to him every year for a raise. Rabbi Kramer would always ask me about my work and what I was doing. I knew that Rabbi Kramer knew what I was doing and how it was going but it was just his wonderful way of communicating and being interested and it was always a pleasure to talk to him.
From: R. S.
Rabbi A. saw Rabbi Kramer in a big rush leaving the Yeshiva. He asked him: Where are you going in such a big rush? Rabbi Kramer replied that he was rushing off to a wedding in New York and he had a plane to catch. Rabbi A. said: Why are you leaving town when I have a wedding right here in Montreal tonight. Rabbi Kramer abandoned his plans and stayed for the wedding.
From: Rabbi A.
When Rabbi Kramer was a bochur (single young man) he was a guest at the Seder of the Frierdiker Rebbe (Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe). The seat near the Rebbe was always traditionally left empty in memory of his father the Rebbe Rashab. An older guest told the young Rabbi Kramer to sit on that seat as the room was very crowded and he would be standing for a long time. Of course Rabbi Kramer refused and remained standing. The Frierdiker Rebbe then made a comment that Rabbi Kramer is kliger.(smart)
I will always remember Rabbi Kramer as being very kind and caring person. He was someone who you could bring your problems to and he always had the time to listen.
…One of the most decent people I have ever met, a true example to emulate.
I went over to Rabbi Kramer 4 years ago and asked him to help me out of a problem I had with 2 daughters and son. I went to see him in his office and he went out of his way for us to help out myself and my daughters. I will always remember his kindness.
From: C. C.
Thanks to Rabbi and Mrs Kramer, my son Yaakov had a school to go to at the age of eight. I took him out of public school and put him in their Yeshiva. B’H, now he is learning for Smicha in in 770.
From: K. B.
A few years ago I was at Rabbi and Mrs.Kramer’s Shabbos table and Rabbi Kramer said a D’var Torah and when he realized that I didn’t understand Yiddish, he switched to saying his D’Var Torah in English. I felt he was sensitive to me.
From: S. S. A.
Before exams, I gave Tzedaka and always asked Rabbi Kramer to pray for me.. he always agreed but said that I had to also study and prepare and he was sure I would do well.
From: S. F.
The K. family will always remember how three generations of their family knew him and how he officiated at their weddings and their children’s weddings.
I was very surprised that so many people thought that Rabbi Kramer was THEIR rabbi, and I thought that he was only our family’s close friend and Rabbi. This was emphasized by the huge amount of people attending the levaya (funeral)
From: Mrs. D.
At every simcha, Rabbi Kramer said words that were appropriate and with such feeling.
Rabbi Kramer came to all our Simchas, every single one of them without exception – he was always there. At the Shloshim and Yartzeit we would only have family and no friends except for Rabbi Kramer. We taped what he spoke so that we should have it for our children and grandchildren and future grandchildren to listen to and to learn. I listen to the tape quietly by myself when no one is home, just to listen to it by myself.
From: Mrs. F.
Three generations of our family had the privilege of knowing Rabbi Kramer. He was under the Chuppa with us as well as officiating at the weddings of our children . We speak often of the Rabbi’s association with our father in law of blessed memory, and of his many kindnesses to him. We were always so appreciative.
From: B. and M. K.
The day after the funeral two workers came to my house and spoke of the great Rabbi that passed away. Although they never knew Rabbi Kramer they said what an impact he had on Montreal even from the newspaper articles.
From: Mrs. N.
Rabbi Kramer was encouraging us to buy a nice house and although it was slightly more money than we wanted to pay when Rabbi Kramer told my husband to bid for a certain price, my husband did just that a little to my dismay I must admit. Now we are still living in that house and it was one of the best moves we have ever made, it is worth a lot more than we payed for it.
From: Mrs. D.
When Rabbi Kramer walked into the room he really affected me with his warmth and care, always making a person feel good and was never just general.
From: R. L.
…a conversation with Rabbi kramer wasn’t just a conversation……he really taught me how important………….I wanted to live in Israel but couldn’t and Rabbi Kramer reassured me that this was okay, we needed to be here and not in Israel. He understood pain and just called for no reason. He was there for the birth of all our children and helped with their names.
It happened that I gave Rabbi Kramer a small donation when I saw him (I live out of town) Almost a year later Rabbi Kramer sees me gives me a big hug and Sholom Aleichem and says thank you so much for your donation. I was a little puzzled since I only gave him a small donation. Rabbi Kramer explained to me that right after he received my donation he went into the Rebbe for Yechidus and the Rebbe asked him how things were going so he told the Rebbe that he just received a donation from ML and the Rebbe said may this be the start of a good year for you. The previous year had been very difficult and for the next year things went a lot smoother and easier for Rabbi Kramer. He made a point of telling me this which says a lot about this man.
From: M. L.
When I was younger in the summer we went to the country in Val Morin and at the Shule where my father went Rabbi Kramer would always give a sermon and talk so nicely and I would look forward to hearing this sermon every week, he just seemed so spiritual.
From: G. S. T.
I just became eligible to vote and was registering at the office where I had to give my name and address. When the person at the desk noticed what my address was he said : ‘You must be live close to Rabbi Kramer’ , so I said I’m his grandson and the man said that he used to work at a carwash and that’s where Rabbi Kramer washed his car, and he said Rabbi Kramer was the nicest person he ever saw.
From: A grandson
I was going out with my husband- to-be for a long time and Rabbi Kramer asked me what was taking so long and besides you fit right into the family you’ve got my mother in law’s name and I then realized that I’m part of the family and it didn’t take long for my husband and I to get married and it was a good decision now married 46 years.
From: Liba F.
Last year, when we were looking for a piece of land for our Chabad House, all the neighbours went to complain vehemently, so we went to do some publicity to tell people that they have nothing to fear. One of the girls who helped us was the granddaughter of Rabbi Kramer, Liba Devorah Kramer. When she went to one person’s door the woman asked her if she was a Kramer and she responded yes. If so, said the woman, I will not only not oppose the new construction, I will actually sign to support it. This happened a few times that people would support it if Rabbi Kramer was in favour of it and in the end, the project passed.
From: S. R.
When my parents first started to travel extensively they were afraid to take a plane to Miami, but they called to ask Rabbi kramer if they should go b plane or train. He said by plane, because they will feel like they are in danger for 3 hours but by train it will last for 18 hours. Was always there for me day or night whenever I needed him especially during divorce.
From: J. C.
Rabbi Kramer was always a pleasure to see, always at peace with the situation . I would never keep him waiting if I could help it. It was a personal relationship, not just a doctor-patient relationship. He actually made me aware of the Lubavitcher Rebbe whom I wrote to and had a connection with after that.
From: A Doctor
I was going through a really tough time and Rabbi Kramer would help me all the time. He was there for me almost for an entire year-at all times of the day or night, whenever I needed him.
My job was to work for a caterer and I was in charge of the drinks. I always listened when Rabbi Kramer spoke at the weddings and Bar Mitzvahs and any Simchas that I serviced. I noticed that Rabbi Kramer would always tie in the time, place and what was happening at the time to create a beautiful message.
Rabbi Kramer was the last of his kind.
From Mrs. R.
Rabbi Kramer was always extremely family-minded. He kept the family together.
From: An in-law relative
When my mother passed way Rabbi Kramer came to our house and I asked him to please tell me what to do because I loved my mother so much. Rabbi Kramer told me that the biggest mitzva I could do for my mother was to sit shiva. At first I did not understand, but now 30 years later, I say thank you to Rabbi kramer.
From: L. R.
I always felt good to see Rabbi Kramer.
He came to every single one of our Simchas and R’L our sad times. He was very personal with us.
From: E. L.
When my father was sick, he told us that he wanted to be buried in Israel. Rabbi Kramer said call me anywhere, anytime when he passes away. When it happened, I called Rabbi Kramer, who was in the country at the time where he would go during the summer for week-ends. Rabbi Kramer was there in an hour and a half and arranged everything. He helped us out while we the family had no idea what was happening and did not know what to do.
From: Mrs. S.
When I was have some difficulties in medical school at one point Rabbi Kramer encouraged me by saying that sometimes before you can take a step forward, you do have to take a few steps backwards. This was very helpful to me at the time.
From: Gershon Frisch
Once when I was 9 years old and travelling with my friend Alte Korf from New York to Montreal on the way to camp, we had a problem at the border. Although we had a permission note from our parents and we were in adult company, we were still refused entry at the border. However, it was getting close to Shabbos and we could not go all the way back to New York. I went to a pay phone called my grandfather, Rabbi Kramer and he said don’t worry about it , we’ll take care of it. About 40 minutes later Rabbi Kramer rushes in, speaks two words to the border officer, and we’re free to go, no problem. My friend Alte was impressed how such a busy man came by himself and didn’t send anyone else.
From: Shimon Kramer
When I was 7 years old we would go to Val Morin in the summer to our country house. The Kramers were there too and every morning and every evening Rabbi Kramer would travel to and from the city to be with his family in the country and would be happy to offer rides to anyone who required transport. My mother would sometimes get a ride and she once tried to insist that she pay for the gas. Rabbi Kramer would not allow her to do that but said , ‘di eintzige zach vos do kenst tohn …’ – the only thing that you can do…. and would point to the Pushka, the tzedaka box he kept in the car. My mother thought that was a very nice gesture. I think this money helped the Yeshiva grow.
From: Mrs. S.S.
I’d like to talk of Rabbi Kramer’s dedication to his Mosdos – institutions. I’ve been to many Beth Rivkah graduations and whenever Rabbi Kramer would get up to speak I would turn to the person sitting next to me and say: ‘You watch how Rabbi Kramer will tell us about Pardes Chana’ (the girls camp which he established) And I was right. Because a week or two after graduation in June, camp would begin and he encouraged the parents to send their daughters there. One summer I worked in Pardes Chana on the computer and the next summer for various reasons I wasn’t planning to come back and I took a bungalow in the country. I had a small baby then and we had no phone in the country. Rabbi Kramer came personally to the country to ask if I would come and help out with the computers. Although it didn’t work out I was left with such admiration for his dedication and personal interest he took in every aspect in his Mosdos.
My little boy Sholom Ber was a classmate with Moishie Kramer and after going to Rabbi Kramer’s funeral he was disappointed that I didn’t allow him to then continue on and go to the cemetery. I asked him why he wants to go as he’s just a little boy. He said: ‘ Mummy, Rabbi Kramer is not just Moishie’s Zaidy, I also had a relationship with Rabbi Kramer’. Well that surprised me and he further explained: ‘Sometimes Rabbi Kramer would be waiting for his ride to turn up so he would go outside to wait. The children at the Yeshiva would open the doors for him and would walk him down the stairs and we’d wait with him. He always talked to us, he asked me my name, about school and we would have a conversation’. My son continued: ‘ You know Mummy that he’s one of the hidden tzaddikim.’ I agreed with Sholom Ber that we know about Rabbi Kramer that he’s a tzaddik but he’s not hiding in the forest and Sholom Ber conceded: ‘Well, he’s for sure a tzaddik.’
When I grew up Rabbi Kramer was like an uncle. He was my father’s best friend. In our whole extended family he was considered as one of the family. And my husband Yitzchok being Lubavitch is directly because of Rabbi Kramer. When Yitzchok and his family came from Hungary in 1956 my in–laws were deciding which Yeshiva to put him into. They wanted a good secular education as well as a good Jewish education. They also wanted their other son Yossi to be in another Yeshiva in the morning and do secular studies only at Yeshiva. So Rabbi Kramer said: ‘I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll let Yossi come to the Yeshiva just for English if you put Yitzchok into the Yeshiva all day.’ As they say the rest is history. I also know about the kindness that Rabbi Kramer showed my aunt, how he brought her to the Rebbe and took such good care of her, helping her every step of the way. I know he was instrumental in saving the building when my father had business difficulties and doing him many favours over the years. And it’s thanks to Mrs. Kramer that I met Yitzchok. I have some letters from my father that Rabbi Kramer wrote to him. They were very close, all the refugees were like brothers and sisters. They parented each other. My parents met at the wedding of Rabbi and Mrs. Kramer.
I was one of the first Talmidim of the Yeshiva on Pine Ave way back when they first came as refugees from Shanghai as students. In those days you could only get into the country if you were a student, a Rabbi or a farmer. We used to learn with the nine – the original nine – and of course Rabbi Kramer was at the head of them right away. My father once introduced the young still single Rabbi Kramer to a government official as the Dean. He built up the Yeshiva and it grew and moved to larger premises, first Jeanne Mance and then Park Avenue. When he saw that people were moving west, he established the Yeshiva there. He was unique in his way. An era has passed, his mould is not with us anymore. Chaval al d’avdin v’lo mishtakchin – Woe for those who are lost to us for their like cannot be found-. You can’t find another like him.
When we were living on the same street as the Kramers, my husband helped shovel Rabbi Kramer’s car out of the snow. The next day, when my husband walked into Shul, Rabbi Kramer, who was in the middle of davenning and couldn’t speak at that moment, came over to my husband and shook his hand and patted him on the back demonstrating an enthusiastic Yasher Koach – thank you. People crowded around my husband curious about what this was all about, did he perhaps win the lottery.
Once when I was a single student at McGill, Rabbi Kramer mentioned that he would like to talk to me. In the nicest way he hinted to me that it was time for me to think of settling down and he would help me with suitable suggestions of fine young men in the community. It felt really nice and special that he took a personal interest.
From: Ms. R
On behalf of the Chelmer Society and Ladies Auxiliary I’d like to express our deepest sympathy for the loss of Rabbi Kramer, our leader who taught us so much. We are going to follow in his direction because we always looked up to him and appreciated the way he interacted with us.
From: Tanya Boren
I remember Rabbi Kramer as a real Tzaddik. When he started the Yeshiva on Park Ave he was never too tired to help anybody and everybody that needed help. I always knew he was a great man. He was everybody’s friend and he’ll be missed by the entire community. May a be a meilitz yosher-a good advocate, for his family, his friends and the whole community of Montreal.
Rabbi Kramer was the one to call for any reason a Simcha or R’L an illness, whatever it was he was always there and he never let you down.
From: Shaya G.
Rabbi Kramer sat with me when my mother was dying, and I was all alone but he stayed with Mama until the end.
From: Mrs. D.
He enjoyed helping others, and he made Sholom Bayis.
First thing I want to say is that losing Rabbi Kramer is a huge loss of course to his family but also to the whole community of Montreal. One of the things that sticks out in my mind about Rabbi Kramer is how he bridged the gap between all the different types of Jews we have in Montreal. He had respect for everyone and everyone felt they can come to him and that’s why everyone has a few wonderful stories to tell about Rabbi Kramer. I remember when my husband lost his father and he was very grief- stricken, Rabbi Kramer called me to the office because he heard he was taking it very hard and then he spoke to my husband to try to comfort him. We will all be missing Rabbi Kramer. They don’t make people like him anymore.
We have fond memories of Rabbi Kramer, being the daughter of Levi Gorelik whom he personally called Levik. We were neighbours for many years and he was always involved in the family. We always looked up to him and he did respect our family as well. We go back quite a few years. In fact I remember his wedding. We have good memories and it’s good to always remember him that way.
I knew Rabbi Kramer 17 years ago in the 1980’s and no one in the community was willing or able to save our school the Ecole Sefarad. Everyone said that we needed to see Rabbi Kramer and that only Lubavitch can save us. Our community came to Rabbi Kramer and we told him that we’re in a lot of debt and if we close this school 200 children will go to a public school and not get a Jewish education. We asked him to please see what he can do. He asked us for all the accounts and paperwork and when we spoke to him a few days later he said: It’s going to be very hard to take on all these debts, but we are Be”H – G-d willing, going to do something in order to save these Jewish children. We had a meeting to try to work things out. It was very difficult but Rabbi Kramer worked very hard with us to pay off all the debts. In the zechut – merit – of Horav Kramer the school lived on for another 10 years. An B’H many kids are Shomrei Shabbos and Mikayem Mitzvot-keep our Torah laws -, and many went on to the Yeshiva afterwards from our school. Everyone in this city knew that if you needed something done L’Shem Shomayim – for the sake of heaven – you must go and see Rabbi Kramer. It will not be easy to replace him. B’ezrat Hashem – with the help of Hashem – all the zechuyot – merits – will be for the family, community and the entire world.