Rav Nachum Laskin zt”l


laskin1It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rav Nachum Laskin zt”l. Rav Laskin was a longtime chaplain at the Otisville Correctional Center beginning with its inception in 1981.

Rav Laskin served as rov of the Woodbourne Shul, B’nai Israel Synagogue on Route 42 in the Catskills, until 1990. He then went on to serve as rov of Khal Ahavas Torah in Monroe, NY, where he resided. Rav Laskin also formerly served as principal of the Hebrew Day School of Orange County in Middletown.

A true yorei Shomayim and respected talmid chochom, Rav Laskin merited to raise a family of bnei and bnos Torah. His son, Rav Yitzchok, a talmid muvhak of Rav Shmuel Berenbaum zt”l, serves as a R”M at the Mirrer Yeshiva in Brooklyn.

Throughout his years in the chaplaincy, Rav Laskin provided support and succor to countless individuals. He also offered askanim and the community at large chilling insights drawn from decades of personal service as a prison chaplain. Although the topic was difficult for him to speak about, he felt that it was important to warn the community about the dangers of engaging in illegal activities. He would discuss the reasons why people resort to breaking the law, such as desperation, the desire for honor, lack of knowledge of repercussions of their behavior, and poverty. Rav Laskin would also describe the horrific conditions in prison and offer ideas on how to make life more bearable for those already in prison. He strongly advocated for an organization to be formed to speak out for Orthodox Jews across the spectrum and to ensure that their needs are properly addressed. 

Most prominent, though, was Rav Laskin’s tzidkus, his dikduk b’mitzvos, his ehrlichkeit, and his humility. His chesed was often done b’hatzneah leches, away from the limelight, with few being aware of the extent of his selfless activities. It was perhaps in the merit of his remarkable avodas Hashem and ahavas Yisroel that he was zoche to raise, together with his noveh bayis, such a beautiful mishpacha of children and grandchildren who follow in his footsteps.

During his recent illness, Rav Laskin resided in Lakewood, NJ, near his children. He was niftar earlier today at Kimball Medical Center in Lakewood.

The levaya will be held tonight, at 9:30 p.m., at Khal Zichron Pinchos in Lakewood, led by its rov, Rav Aharon Zuckerman.

Kevurah will take place at the East Seventh Street cemetery, adjacent to the Holocaust Memorial Chapel of Congregation Sons of Israel in Lakewood.

Yehi zichro boruch.

{Yossi Schneider-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. He stood to help ehrliche yidden in their ime of great need. He worked closely with Rabbi Moshe Dovid Neiderman in help frum men that found themselves in Otisville. He knew just how much help can be given without antagonizing the prison authorities. Whenever a group wished to visit frum yidden, he would set everything aside, even being with his own family on Chanukah or Purim to accomodate the yidden of Otisville. He was also a great help in having glatt kosher foods brought in. He would sit and learn gemara with individual prisoners on his own time. Whenever a frum yid would get a day furlough, he would be the “prison guard” that accompanied, again at the expense of being with his own family. Chaval al d’avden.

  2. BDE. An exemplary person. – To wit he had a pretty chashuva Levaya ( especially at night, and a cold one at that ). Those of us who knew him can easily learn from him.

  3. He worked quietly with people like Rabbi Shmuel Spritzer, a known Chabad askin to help Yiddin in prisons. Rabbi Spritzer told me tonight when he heard the news that Rabbi Laskin was a true friend of the Jewish community, they never understood him and even came out agianst him, not realizing all that he tried to do for the frum Jews in Otisville. When he wasn’t able to accomplish something on his own, he reached out to Rabbi Spritzer of Chabad (Reaching Out) who always stands ready to help a Yid in a prison.

  4. Rabbi Laskin was a pious and learned man who was a blessing for those of us who grew up in Woodbourne. He will be greatly missed. He taught me the meaning of being Jewish.

  5. The Jewish community he served so well in our little town of Woodbourne, New York was never the same after he left. The loss we felt then has never been greater until now. He has been and always will be in our thoughts our hearts and our prayers.

  6. It’s only today that I have discovered that “my rabbi” from the prison system, Nahum Laskin had passed away. The few of us at the state Otisville Correctional Facility who looked forward to Rabbi Laskin’s weekly visits with us in our makeshift schul inside the Prison always had smiles when he appeared walking up the steep hill to greet us; then, if time permitted after services, he would play each of us one-on-one in basketball! My heart goes out to his family who lost a wonderful father and husband.