R’ Berel Raskin, Crown Heights fishmonger whose small shop on Kingston Avenue became a world-renowned commercial enterprise, passed away on Shabbos. He was 85.
R’ Berel, one of four brothers, was born in Leningrad to his parents, Reb Aaron Leib Laine and Doba Raiza Raskin, who demonstrated mesiras nefesh for Yiddishkeit in Communist Russia.
Reb Aaron Leib was arrested many times, especially on Shabbos, because he was stringent not to carry on Shabbos and was unable to furnish his identity cards.
The family eventually moved from Leningrad to Gorky, where the family suffered greatly, and his father passed away at the young age of 36.
It was left to R’ Berel’s mother, Doba Raiza, to somehow sustain herself and her four children, and she was determined to escape Russia with her family.
The family initially traveled to Poland, then Austria, and finally Paris. In 1953 they arrived in New York.
When R’ Berel looked to start a business, he soon decided on opening a fish store. In 1961 he rented the store on Kingston Avenue, where the business is run from until today.
R’ Berel became a community icon, standing behind the counter and serving his customers for over 50 years.
His most famous item is his rolled gefilte fish, sold all around the world with the package bearing his smiling face.
He is survived by his wife Esther (nee Lipsker), and his children, Aaron Leib Raskin (Crown St.) – Crown Heights, Yossi Raskin – Crown Heights, Shloime Raskin – Crown Heights, Brocha Richler – Los Angeles, CA, Bassie Komar – Crown Heights, Chanie Greene – Rochester, MN, Doba Rimler – Crown Heights, and Shaina Moss – Israel, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He is also survived by his brothers, Michel Raskin, Dovid Laine, and Benzion Raskin, all of Crown Heights.
The levaya will take place today, leaving Shomrei Hadas in Boro Park at 12:30 pm and passing 770 Eastern Parkway at 1:30 pm.
Yehi zichro boruch.