R’ Yechiel Michel (Michael) Karfunkel z”l

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It is with great sadness that Matzav reports the passing of R’ Yechiel Michel (Michael) Karfunkel z”l. He was 72 years old.

Mr. Karfunkel was born during World War II and grew up as a poor Jewish boy in Sighet, Hungary, managing to survive the Holocaust only to be swept up in a bitter revolt against the Soviet government. He ultimately managed to leave the bloodshed behind and immigrate to New York.

With remarkable Hashgachah Elyonah, Mr. Karufunkel managed to rebuild his life, as he, like his younger brother George, became noted on Wall Street and in the real estate and the insurance industries, while maintaining tremendous anivus and an aversion to publicity.

Mr. Karfunkel, a resident of Boro Park, Brooklyn, was the founder of National General Holdings Corp. and co-founded American Stock Transfer & Trust Company for Wilmington Trust Retirement and Institutional Services Company in 1971.

Mr. Karfunkel’s tzedakah and chesed were legendary. His Hod Foundation has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to worthy causes, as has his brother George’s Chesed Foundation of America.

These foundations have given untold amounts of money to yeshivos, botei medrash and mosdos of chesed, dedicating the Slabodka Yeshiva building in Bnei Brak, the Belzer Talmud Torah building on Rechov Techeils Mordechai in Yerushalayim, and others.

A quiet and humble man, Mr. Karfunkel headed an empire of tzedakah and charitable endeavors. He was one of the greatest tomchei Torah of our times and maintained a special kesher with many roshei yeshiva, rabbonim and admorim, including the roshei yeshiva of Slabodka, the admorim of Belz, Satmar and Toldos Aharon, Rav David Abuchatzeira of Nahariya, and others.

The levayah was held Wednesday night at Yeshiva Chasan Sofer on 50th Street in Boro Park. The aron was then flown to Eretz Yisroel, where a levayah and kevurah will take place on Har Hamenuchos.

Yehi zichro boruch.


{Gavriel Sitrit-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. I every week I used to go to his shiur in messeches Brachos which his father used to give in belle harbor Ny during the summer he was a tremendous Talmud chachom Baruch Dayan haemes

    • He was a Gaon. When the Rov was not here, people used to ask him the Sheilois. Anywhere in the four Chelkei Shilchon Orechm.

  2. Always very friendly on Shabbos in Shul; used to mingle and talk to everyone, rich or poor, young and old , very easy going. Always graciously invited every Mispalel to his Simchas. Never got angry at anything. Real Anivous.

  3. The Rov had offered him to have the Chazan say an exclusive Yizkor for his parents while everyone would have to stand and listen. But because of his humility, he argued that it is not right to take advantage of the Tzibbur during such an emotional time.

  4. To Shlomo:
    Not only did he argue against the idea of Yizkor, he unambiguously declined it; explaining that those precious few minutes of Yizkor is a time that each person should try to remember and connect to his or her departed loved one, and should not be disturbed.


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