Bostoner Rebbe Levi Yitzhak Horowitz dies at 88

Bostoner Rebbe dies at a

By MATTHEW WAGNER
December 6, 2009 00:46
2 minute read.
levi yitzhak horowitz bostoner rebbe

levi yitzhak horowitz bostoner rebbe. (photo credit: )

Rabbi Levi Yitzhak Horowitz, better known as the Bostoner Rebbe, passed away Saturday after struggling to recover from the cardiac arrest he suffered during the summer. Horowitz, 88, was buried at Jerusalem's Mount of Olives on Saturday night. Born in Boston (hence the moniker), Horowitz was the first American-born hassidic leader. His father, Rabbi Pinchos Dovid Horowitz, founded the hassidic dynasty, which Levi Yitzhak had headed since 1944. In 1943, Horowitz took part in a march to Washington D.C. organized by the Bergson Group and led by Hillel Kook and Rabbi Eliezer Silver to plead with president Franklin D. Roosevelt to rescue Jews from Hitler. Horowitz made a primary goal of reaching out to the Boston area's large number of college students to bring them closer to Judaism. He felt that since many of the students were away from home they were in a perfect position to make a change in their lifestyle. Dovid Gottlieb, a former professor of philosophy at John Hopkins University, was one of many secular American Jews who embraced an Orthodox lifestyle under Horowitz's influence. Gottlieb said Saturday night before the funeral that he first met Horowitz while he was a student at Brandeis University. "The rebbe was a real man of truth," said Gottlieb. "There were times when I was motivated in my religious life by false piety and he always insisted on clear logic." Gottlieb, who now teaches at the Ohr Somayach Yeshiva in Jerusalem, said that Horowitz had the special quality of knowing the true talents of every Jew. "He saw right to your very soul and he could tell you what you should do in life. For instance, he told me to pursue my academic career. But he told others to learn in yeshiva. "He told me once that being a rebbe meant that you were there when someone needed to make a big decision and needed spiritual guidance." In 1984 Horowitz decided to establish a second center for his hassidic dynasty in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem. Over the years he split his time between Boston and Har Nof. In 1999 a center was established for the younger members of the hassidic movement in Beitar Illit. Horowitz, a member of Agudat Yisrael's Council of Torah Sages, held right-wing political views regarding maintaining a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria. He was strongly opposed to the Gaza disengagement and spoke publicly against it. Horowitz was the founder of the Rofeh International Organization, which assists the sick by providing referrals to medical specialists around the world and provides hospitality and kosher meals to patients in the Boston area. He also created a yeshiva for students who did not grow up with a religious background which is located in Har Nof. Horowitz, whose first wife died in 2002, is survived by his second wife and his five children.


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