Mr. Ellis (Eliyahu) Safdeye z”l

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candle-small5It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Mr. Ellis (Eliyahu) Safdeye z”l, renowned philanthropist and one of the senior lay leaders of the Syrian Sephardic community. He was 88.

Born in Manchester, England, in 1922, Ellis was a son of Judah Aslan Safdeye, a leader of the Halabi Syrian community in the United States, and his wife Sulha.

Ellis came to the United States on the eve of World War II and  married Altoon (Tunie) Sultan, daughter of Judah and Margee Sultan. After receiving a degree in textile engineering from the Philadelphia College of Textiles, in 1954, Ellis went on to found E. S. Novelty Company, importing novelty products, and then, in 1962, E. S. Originals, a product line of footwear, becoming one of the most successful businessmen and one of the pioneers of the American footwear industry. E.S. Originals has a retail sales volume in excess of one billion dollars per year and employs over 1,000 professionals in domestic and overseas offices.

While he was successful in the world of commerce, most important to Ellis was raising a family of bnei and bnos Torah. He attached himself to yeshivos and chachamim, utilizing his largesse to support mosdos haTorah and individuals in need.

He devoted time each and every day to learn Torah, while sitting at the helm of the largest privately owned footwear company in the world. He had a particularly close relationship with Yeshivat Ateres Torah in Flatbush and its rosh yeshiva, Chacham Yosef Harari-Raful. The younger division of the yeshiva, the Ellis Safdeye Elementary School, was named in his honor.

Ellis was a soft-spoken, gentle man who went about his chessed with humility and modesty. Countless stories depict his unassuming nature and his selflessness. He distributed large sums of money to indigent Jews around the globe, bnei yeshiva, and institutions.

The levaya was held yesterday at the Ellis Safdeye Elementary School of Yeshivat Ateret Torah and the aron was then flown to Eretz Yisroel for kevurah.

Mr. Safdeye is survived by his wife, Mrs. Tunie Safdeye; his brother, Mr. Edward Safdeye; his children, Alan Safdeye, Joey Safdeye and Vicky Esses; and grandchildren and great-grandchilren.

The family is sitting shivah at 2026 East 5th Street, between Avenues S and T, in Flatbush, Brooklyn, until Friday afternoon. The phone number there is 718-376-1115/3926.

Yehi zichro boruch.

{Yossi Schneider-Matzav.com Newscenter}

7 COMMENTS

  1. Ellis, as he was known to young and old, was an example of how a Yid could be wealthy and be davuk ba’Shem. He will be missed by many!
    Yehi Zichro Baruch

  2. R Avigdor Miller zl always said he was one of the pioneers and was responsible for uplifting yiddishkiet in flatbuush he was a wonderful anassuming person a true and real yid

  3. sad. he seemed like very special person. how aboit writing those nice stories? are u able to get hold of stories as this may be inspiring to others

  4. JUST READ THE SAD NEWS, TO THE FAMILY MY REGARDS. HAVE N REALLY MISSED HIM THE PAST YEARS, WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HIM.

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