The Late Rabbi Dovid Winiarz – Speaking for

By Shaya Winiarz

Abba would always keep his eyes peeled for his less-affiliated brothers and sisters. He would find those who never had the opportunity to learn Hashem’s Torah and work to teach them Hashem’s ways. One such soul that Abba found was Jaime. Jaime worked in CVS in Staten Island and didn’t know much about her Jewishness. When she mentioned that she was expecting a baby boy, Abba made it his goal to convince her to give him a bris. He worked on it for a while and tried to explain to Jaime how special it would be for her son to join the covenant of Avraham Avinu. Unfortunately, Abba’s work didn’t pay off. When baby Erick was born, Jaime consented only to have him given a medical circumcision in the hospital—which of course is not a fulfillment of the mitzvah. Abba was quite disappointed that his hard work didn’t bear fruit, but he comforted himself saying that he was only able to do his best and not more. 

Then came the 27th of Teves. Abba passed away, and thousands of people came to pay their respects at our house—including Jaime. After sitting and talking for a while, Jaime offered, “If there is anything we can do, please let me know.” Mommy responded, “All I ask is if you can do something to honor his memory.” Jaime immediately responded, “Well, y’know, little man hasn’t had his bris yet. I would love to name him after Dovid.” Jaime then asked Mommy, “What was Dovid’s full Hebrew name?” Mommy said, “Dovid Avraham.” It was thus that one of the seeds that Abba nurtured began to sprout—before the week of mourning was even up! On one of the following days of shivah, Rabbi Paysach Krohn came to pay his respects. Rabbi Krohn knew Abba because he had done the brisim for two out of three of us boys and Abba also once interviewed him for his (Abba’s) radio program. Knowing that Rabbi Krohn likes a good story, we told him about Jaime and her baby. With his trademark flair, Rabbi Krohn said, “I have an idea! Why don’t you do the bris immediately after shivah is over—right here in the house? You’ll turn a house of mourning into a house of simchah!” We agreed that it was a great idea and began to spread the word. 

And so, immediately after shivah ended, we showered and changed into nice clothing. Our Jewish community in Staten Island showed up again—but this time for a simchah. My brother-in-law Rabbi Tzvi Teitelbaum is a mohel, and he did the bris on baby Dovid Avraham. I was the sandek, and my brother Eli gave the name. In this way, Abba’s efforts during his lifetime panned out and brought a young Jewish boy into the covenant of Avraham Avinu and the Jewish people got a new Dovid Avraham not one week after a different one left. It was a great fulfillment of what Abba always taught about how we just have to plant the seeds and leave the rest up to Hakadosh Baruch Hu; He’ll make them sprout when the time is right.

Shaya Winiarz is a student of the Rabbinical Seminary of America (a.k.a. Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim), as well as a mohel, lecturer, columnist, and freelance writer. He is also the author of Making a Difference (the Story of Reb Dovid Winiarz), (Israel Bookshop Publications) Let There Be Time (The Meaning and Messages of the Jewish Months) (Israel Bookshop Publications) and upcoming sefer 39 Things You CAN Do on Shabbos. He can be reached for bris milah, speaking engagements, or freelance writing at  

Making a Difference:

Let There Be Time: