Rav Yosef Nayowitz zt”l


It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rav Yosef Nayowitz zt”l. He was 96 years old.

Rav Nayowitz was one of the first talmidim of Rav Yitzchok Hutner zt”l at Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin. Growing up in Brownsville, NY, Rav Nayowitz was a member of a chaburah of youngsters who were greatly impacted by R’ Tzvi Yehudah (Harry) Hisiger z”l, a group that included R’ Moish Swerdloff z”l and R’ Meyer Birnbaum z”l, with whom he was friendly. Rav Nayowitz would recall helping a young Aharon Schechter, then seven years old, cross the street. Today, of course, Rav Aharon Schechter is the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin.

It was in that environment that Rav Nayowitz cultivated his knowledge and skills that served him well throughout his fruitful life in rabbonus, harbotzas haTorah and chinuch.

While Rav Nayowitz was born in the United States, he visited Europe prior to World War II when his father took him to Hungary after his bar mitzvah to see his grandparents. During that trip, he saw Adolf Hitler ym”sh.

Rav Nayowitz was fortunate to speak to and hear shiur from Rav Elchonon Wasserman zt”l during the latter’s visit to the United States. In addition to studying under Rav Hutner and imbibing the rosh yeshiva’s Torah and hashkafah, Rav Nayowitz learned shechitah from Rav Chaim Morgenstern, who was Rav Chaim Brisker’s personal shochet.

In 1944, Rav Nayowitz married his wife, Libby, née Lerner, and they lived in New York, Detroit and South Bend.

In the 1970s, the Nayowitzes moved to Paterson, NJ, where Rav Nayowitz served as rov. Paterson, at that time, was home to a sizable Jewish community. Interestingly, the present Yeshiva Gedolah of Paterson, which is led by Rav Elya Chaim Swerdloff, is located in the very building where Rav Nayowitz’s shul was located. This is a noteworthy tidbit considering that Rav Nayowitz and Rav Elya Chaim’s father, R’ Moish, were good friends in their youth, a relationship that, in some sense, came full circle decades later.

rav Yosef NayowitzAfter departing the rabbinate in Paterson, the Nayowitzes moved to Eretz Yisroel before returning to the United States to settle in Memphis, Tennessee, where Rav Nayowitz served as principal for over 40 years.

His patience and keen understanding drew both children and adults to him and made him an outstanding and beloved principal for years.

About ten years ago, Rav and Mrs. Nayowitz moved to Teaneck, NJ, where they resided near their children, R’ Reuven and Mrs. Toni Nayowitz.

A talmid chochom of note who possessed outstanding ahavas haTorah, Rav Nayowitz spent his last 20+ years of retirement learning daily.

yosef nayowitzRav Nayowitz was a soft-spoken, giving person who devoted himself to others throughout his life, focusing on spreading kavod Shomayim wherever he was. He was dignified and eloquent, and served as a fount of reminiscences and memories of the bygone eras he lived through. His passing, in many ways, marks the end of an era, as he was one of the last connections to the period when Torah Jewry in the tri-state area began blossoming into what we see today. The sacrifices of Rav Nayowitz and the members of his generation have been credited for planting the seeds of the burgeoning Torah community in New York and beyond.

Rav Nayowitz’s levayah was held on Friday and kevurah took place at the bais hachaim in Monsey, NY.

He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Mrs. Libby Nayowitz; his children, Mrs. Devorah Rottenberg, wife of R’ Bentzy Rottenberg (Bnei Brak); R’ Reuven and Mrs. Toni Nayowitz (Teaneck); Mrs. Rivky Aderet, wife of Rav Mordechai Aderet (Monsey/Great Neck); Mrs. Fraidy Lampert, wife of Rabbi Yanky Lampert; and Mrs. Chavie Katz (Israel); and many grandchildren and over 100 great-grandchildren with him he he had a warm and personal shaychus.

Yehi zichro boruch.

{A. Shiff – Matzav.com}


  1. While in Paterson, he also served as principal for several years at Yavneh Academy, now located in Paramus and one of the premier Modern Orthodox day schools in the country.