Rabbi Klein was born on 6 Av 5695 (1935) in Yerushalayim to his father, R’ Menachem Klein, head of the Yerushalayim Chevra Kadisha, and to his mother, Rochel, who passed away when he was born. He was therefore named Binyomin, the son of Rochel Imeinu who passed away while in labor.
In his youth, he learned at the Chabad Yeshiva Toras Emes in Yerushalayim and first came to the United States during the month of Av in 5716 to study at the Central Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim in New York.
There, he soon began taking part in communal activities and ran the Mesibos Shabbos enrichment program for children.
In 5720 he got married to Laya Shusterman, daughter of Rabbi Mordechai Shusterman, who served as the baal kriah at 770 Eastern Parkway.
After their wedding, the young couple was sent for a 2-year shlichus in Melbourne, Australia, to establish Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch there, overseeing the local Lubavitch community and institutions.
Upon their return to New York, Rabbi Klein was offered to work at the Crown Heights secretariat and assist Lubavitch Chief of Staff Rabbi Mordechai Hodakov in his daily work.
Knowing how to keep a secret and fluent in Hebrew, he became the Lubavitch liaison to top diplomatic, security and political officials in Israel. Most of his interactions, some in person, with Mossad and Shabak (Israel’s internal security service), remain a mystery.
Over the years, much of the paper work of the Lubavitch movement were done through Rabbi Klein and his colleague, Rabbi Leibel Groner. The Rebbe once commented about him, in front of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, that he is “my general.”
Rabbi Klein was a board member of Machne Israel Development Fund and led Kollel Menachem, the institution for advanced Torah study for married men in Crown Heights. He was also on the board of Collel Chabad charity.
In his quiet and unassuming manner, he helped people financially without them knowing, and gave wise counsel to many. He was a friendly and approachable mentor to the yeshivah students who relished the opportunity to interact with him.
He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Laya Klein, their children, Mrs. Rochel Gordon – London, England; Mrs. Feyga Sudak – Edgware, England; Mrs. Chana Garelik – Crown Heights; Mrs. Shterna Sara Krinsky – Manchester, New Hampshire; Rabbi Levi Klein – Memphis, TN; Mrs. Esther Hadassah Ciment – Little Rock, AR; Mrs. Rivkie Grossbaum – Minneapolis, MN; Devora Schmerling – Far Rockaway, NY; Mrs. Miriam Moscowitz – Northbrook, IL; Rabbi Yaakov Klein – Moscow, Russia; grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He is also survived by his sibling-in-law: Rabbi Gershon Shusterman – Los Angeles, CA; Mrs. Miriam Nemenov – Crown Heights; Rabbi Meni and Faige Wolf – Nachlas Har Chabad, Israel; Rabbi Shmuel Greisman – Kfar Chabad, Israel; Rabbi Elazar and Zisel Gurevitz – Crown Heights.
The levaya will take place today at 3 p.m. at Shomrei Hadas Chapels, located at 3803 14th Avenue in Brooklyn, followed by kevurah at the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens.
Yehi zichro boruch.