Several hundred people gathered outside the Satmar Shul on 53rd Street in Borough Park tonight for the levaya of a long time tzedaka collector who was a fixture in local shuls.
R’ Yehoshua Mordechai Kahana died this afternoon after succumbing to serious internal injuries sustained when he was hit by a bicycle on Shabbos as he was crossing the street at 13th Avenue and 53rd Street, just yards from his own home.
R’ Kahana had no children and was believed to be 83 years old at the time of his petira. A diminutive man who suffered from Parkinson’s disease and had difficulty walking, R’ Kahana made the rounds of local shuls daily as he collected money for widows and orphans.
“His mission in life was to support almonos and yesomim and for the last forty or fifty years he collected for tzedaka every day even though walking was hard for him,” Shamshi Segedin, who sat several rows behind R’ Kahana in shul, told VIN News.
“He went around every morning collecting tzedaka in batei medrashim and at night he would go to chasanas to collect money,” added another mispallel at the Satmar Shul. “Thursday nights he would go almonos and give them money he had collected for them. His whole life he didn’t need anything for himself.”
According to some sources, its estimated that R’ Kahana, who would go from person to person collecting dollar bills, would raise approximately a quarter of a million dollars annually for tzedaka, with much of the funds raised distributed in Israel.
“He was frail, not tall, I don’t even know that he reached a height of five foot one or five foot two and looking at him you would have no expectations. But he was just non-stop and kept on going. It was mind boggling.”
Originally from Tzefas, R’ Kahana came to America approximately forty years ago for medical reasons and shortly after his arrival here, doctors successfully treated him for a brain tumor.
“Baruch Hashem they were matzliach and he got these extra years,” said the acquaintance from the Satmar Shul. “The only thing he did in his life after that was collect tzedaka and learn, day and night.”