Rav Yaakov Zelinger zt”l

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It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rav Yaakov Zelinger zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Toras Emes Kamenitz. He was 70 years old.

Rav Zelinger was a noted marbitz Torah, who led his outstanding yeshiva for decades, first in Boro Park, on 56th Street between 16th and 17th Avenues, and then after it moved to Flatbush to its current building at the corner of Avenue N and East 19th Street.

Born in 1946, Rav Zelinger grew up in Boro Park and attended Toras Emes, the very yeshiva he would subsequently lead. He later learned at the Woodridge Yeshiva under Rav Levi Krupenia zt”l.

Rav Zelinger was tested by Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l on daled chelkei Shulchan Aruch. Amazingly, he would fast on all the days of the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah every year.

While the Zelingers lived in Flatbush, Brooklyn, for years Rav Zelinger spent Shabbosos and the summers on Locust Hollow Drive in Monsey, NY, where he was among the founders of Cong. Bais Eliyahu. Once Kamenitz relocated to to Flatbush, the Zelingers sold their house in Monsey and lived full time in Flatbush.

Rav Zelinger’s son, Eliyahu z”l, was a talmid of Yeshiva Ohl Torah when he passed away in a tragic car accident on Purim in Monsey. Rav Zelinger later moved to Brooklyn, NY.

With great devotion, Rav Zelinger dedicated his efforts to Yeshiva Toras Emes, carrying the burden of its operation and ensuring that it instilled a pure and unadulterated chinuch to generations of talmidim.

Rav Zelinger, in addition to being a talented rebbi and maggid shiur, was an outstanding baal chesed, with a huge, caring heart. He extended himself in any way he could to assist people, both parents of his yeshiva and others, materially, financially, or otherwise.

Rav Zelinger leaves behind his rebbetzin and a family of bnei and bnos Torah following in his ways.

The levayah will take place today at 1 p.m. at the yeshiva building, at the corner of Avenue N and East 19th Street, after which the aron will be flown from JFK International Airport to Eretz Yisroel for kevurah there.

Yehi zichro boruch.

{Gavriel Sitrit – Matzav.com Newscenter / Photo: Flash 87 Images}


  1. Boruch Dayan Emes.
    Besides what was noted in the article above, Rabbi Zelinger was very kind and accommodating with tuition flexibility for those who had difficulty making the full payment. We will miss him, as will his yeshiva and its talmidim. Yehi zichroi boruch.

  2. BD”E
    What a tremendous loss for the Yeshiva. Rabbi Respler was also nifter this year. I remember going for an interview for 2 of our younger boys to get into the Yeshiva, a number of years ago. They were both so nice, warm, friendly and very calm. We ultimately decided to send them elsewhere but I always remembered their kindness shown to us.
    Where did Rabbi Zelinger learn when he was a Bachur/Kollel? Who did he consider to be his Rebbe?

  3. Boruch Dayan Ho’Emes!

    I remember him from the yeshiva in Borough Park, where he taught talmidim from the High School perek Merubah of מסכת בבא קמא in the afternoon (app. 35 years ago).

    R. Zelinger was not the founder of the Yeshiva overall (perhaps somewhat in the Flatbush incarnation/era though). In Borough Park the Rosh Yeshiva (beyond HS) was R. Levi Krupenia z”l, and the elementary school was led by yblct”a Rabbi Schwartz shlit”a.

    The Zelinger family was very involved in the Yeshiva as a whole (even before Kamenitz joined with Toras Emes) for many decades, probably from the early years after Toras Emes was founded, as an elementary Yeshiva, circa 1928, e.g. Rabbi Zelinger’s parents zichronam livrocha.

    יהי זכרו ברוך

  4. He leaves behind a wonderful family of talmidei Chachomim yereim ushleimim. Such wonderful people. May he be a meilitz yosher


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