Rav Joseph Elias zt”l


joseph-elias[Levaya and shivah info below.] It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rav Joseph Elias zt”l, renowned mechanech, noted author, and one of the most distinguished pioneering mechanchim on the American scene on the last century. His passing marks the end of an era.

Rabbi Elias was one of this generation’s most distinguished mechanchim, serving at at the forefront of chinuch in America for the last 70 years.

Rabbi Elias attended the Sampson Raphael Hirsch School in Frankfurt in his youth and later served as a principal at the mosdos of its successor institution, K’hal Adath Jeshurun.

Rabbi Elias was principal at Yeshiva Bais Yehudah of Detroit and then served for 40 years as menahel of the Rivka Breuer Teachers Seminary, which was established in Washington Heights under his leadership in 1963.

Rabbi Elias founded and served as the education director of Torah Umesorah’s Zechor Yemos Olam program to educate Jewish youth about the Holocaust.

Rabbi Elias, who was in his 90s, devoted his heart and mind all his life the chinuch of Klal Yisroel‘s children.

Rabbi Elias authored many bestselling works, most notably the classic ArtScroll Haggadah, which has been the most popular Haggadah of its kind in the world. An edition of Rav Shamshon Raphael Hirsch’s “The Nineteen Letters” with a new translation was published by Feldheim with a comprehensive commentary written by Rabbi Elias.

Despite his age, Rabbi Elias remained fully engaged in the current chinuch world till his last years. He had been working on an important hashkafic book on the Holocaust and its lessons.

Having served as a mechanech since just after World War II, Rabbi Elias witnessed various challenging chinuch eras over the years. His passing leaves a gaping void in the Torah and chinuch worlds of the Diaspora.

Rabbi Elias leaves behind a family of talmidei chachomim and marbitzei Torah: his wife, Mrs. Miriam Elias, and his children, Rabbi Dovid Elias, rosh kollel of Kollel Keser Torah of Montreal; Mrs. Debbie Blitz of Detroit; Rabbi Mechoel Elias, R”M at Yeshivas Ohr HaChaim in Queens, NY; and Mrs. Shifrah Gettinger of Lakewood. Shivah will take place at 6 Buckman Place in Monsey, NY.

The levaya will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, August 19, at 10:30 a.m., at the Yeshiva of Spring Valley (boys’ division), located at 121 College Road, Suffern, NY, 10901.

Yehi zichro boruch.

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Baruch Dayan Emes. Even as a young talmidim in Yeshiva Bais Yehudah in Detroit, my chaveirim and I recognized that we had a gem of a principal. I will always remenber his willingness to share his thoughts on chinuch with me when I was Secular Studies principal of a yeshiva gedolah. To the family, HaMakom yenacheim es’chem besoch shaari aveilei Zion V’rushalayim.

  2. He was my principal in Yeshiva Bais Yehudah. He left the bar raised very high for those that came after. He was tocho k’boro. BDE

  3. Rabbi Elias was 94 at the time of his passing. The first two letters of ??, ???? equals 94. This surely epitomized Rabbi Elias.