Williamsburg, NY - One of the Few Last Known Hasidic Jews Saved By Shindler Passes Away
Williamsburg, NY - Reb Yosel Ryba, beloved Gabai of the Amshinover Beis Medrash for over fifty years passed away this past Shabbos. Named for his father who passed away shortly before his birth, Reb Yosel was raised by his aunt and uncle in Poland. He is one of the few last known Hasidic Jews who was saved during World War II by German businessman Oscar Schindler, who is credited with saving over one thousand Polish Jews by employing them in his factories, rescuing them from certain death.
After the war ended, Reb Yosel ran a kitchen in Czecheslovakia and with the help of his brother in law, he fed over 150,000 people. Upon his arrival in America, Reb Yosel was settled in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, at the home of his sister and brother in law, but deep in his heart, Reb Yosel knew that Wilkes Barre was not the place to raise a strong Jewish family. Despite the fact that he had no family in Williamsburg, Reb Yossel followed his heart and relocated there, where he found the type of community he was seeking. He got married, had three sons and joined the Amshinover Beis Medrash, where he davened his entire life. He forged a strong connection with the Amshinover Rebbe, among many others.
Upon the birth of his first son, Reb Yosel received a special bracha from the Satmar Rebbe, Reb Yoel Teitelbaum, Zt’l telling him that if he would collect money for Mosdos Yitav Lev in Israel, he would be blessed with good children. Even while Reb Yoself was in business, he devoted himself to collecting tzedaka, a task he continued even in his final days when he was confined to a wheelchair.
Reb Yosel is remembered as a vibrant individual, whose entire life revolved around helping others, no matter who they were or where they came from. He was well known in both Williamsburg and Boro Park, particularly in the Gerrer and Amshinover communities and was beloved by all. He sent his later years doing what he loved most: sitting in the Beis Medrash, collecting tzedaka and helping others.
Reb Yosel passed away on his 91st birthday, Tu B’Shvat, which was also the yahrtzeit of both his aunt and uncle who raised him, just one day after the yahrtzeit of his father in law, R’ Zangwil Lefkowitz.
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