Rav Chaskel Besser zt”l


rav-chaskel-besser1:45 p.m. EST, Multiple updates: Levaya and shivah info below: It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rav Chaskel Besser zt”l, rov of Congregation Bnei Yisroel Chaim in New York City, chaver hnesius of Agudas Yisroel of America, member of the Vaad Hapoel Haolami of Agudas Yisroel World Organization, founding Chairman of the Daf Yomi Commission, and one of the prominent longtime leaders of the Agudah. He was 87.

Rav Chaskel was born to a family Radomsker Chassidim, and his father was a close chossid of the Radomsker Rebbe. After Rav Chaskel escaped Poland and Europe in 1939, he was reunited with his family in Tel Aviv. He came to the United States in 1949, together with members of his family.

besserRav Chaskel achieved renown as a leader of the American Agudas Yisroel movement, and  he helped reestablish the American Torah community in the aftermath of World War Two.

Rav Chaskel was the principle spiritual leader of the renewal of Polish Jewish life and traveled there frequently. He helped to find Jews and rebuild Jewish life in Poland towards the end of the communist era, partnering with Ronald S. Lauder. This partnership established Rav Chaskel as the Director of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation for Poland. In addition to his work to restore Jewish communal life, he also helped restore many Jewish holy sites in Poland, negotiating with the Polish government on preserving the legacy of Polish Jewry before the war. One of those Jewish cemeteries is in Oświęcim, where his maternal grandparents are buried.

Rav Besser was the subject of a book written by Warren Kozak called The Rabbi of 84th Street.

His children are Rabbi Shlomo Besser; Mrs. Aliza Grund, President of the women’s division of the Agudah; Debby Rosenberg of London, and R’ Naftali Besser of Flatbush. He leaves behind grandchildren and great-children who follow in his footsteps.

Yehi zichro boruch.

Update: 3:27 p.m. EST: The levaya will take place tonight, at 6:45 p.m., at Shomrei Hachomos Chapels, located at 43rd Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway in Brooklyn. The aron will then be taken to Eretz Yisroel for kevurah.

Update: 4:18 p.m. EST: The levaya in Yerushalayim is scheduled to be held at Shamgar in Yerushalayim at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow evening, followed by kevurah on Har Hamenuchos.

Shivah will be held at 118 Riverside Drive Apt. #2B, corner 84th Street, in Manhattan until Tuesday morning, 2 Adar/February 16.

Rabbi Shlomo Besser will accompany the aron to Eretz Yisroel and sit shivah there all day Thursday at his daughter’s home, the Greenbergers, located at 40 Rechov Druk in Yerushalayim, and will return to New York on Friday morning.

 {Dovid Bernstein-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Baruch Daya Haemes. Another connection to the Amolige Dor is lost to us. May Hashem comfort his family and friends B’nechomas Zion ViYerushalayim.

  2. Rabbi Besser was a Gevaldige Yid loved Toirah & Chesed Yhi Zichroy Borhech!
    May Hashem be Menachem the entire family with mourners of Tzion Amen!

  3. He was responsible for the proliferation of daf Yomi across the country.

    He gave his own Daf shiur for many years.

    A true ehrilche yid in every way . He was the way a yid is supposed to be.

  4. An incredible Jew. He loved ALL of Klal Yisroel. A true renaissance man and talmid chochom. We are terribly saddened by this loss.

  5. Baruch Dayan Emmet
    Rav Besser ZT’L was a most remarkable individual he was so warm and kind while being a warrior for Yiddishkeit in the halls of power.
    Between 1985-1991 we lived in the Upper West Side on 86th Street as Director of Touro’s Men’s Dorm most of students attended Rav Besser’s Shul all have found memories of the shule and especially the Rav.
    Y’heh Zichro Baruch.

  6. What a likeable and holy man. He will truly be missed. I have very fond memories of going to daf yomi shiurim by him and hearing him address the siyumim for many years. One of the last of the great ones.