With great sadness we regret to inform you of the passing of Reb Yitzchok Eliyahu Kosofsky, OB”M, a longtime member of the Chicago Lubavitch community who in his later years moved with his wife to their daughter in California. He passed away Tuesday night, the 14th of Nissan. He was 89-years-old.
Reb Yitzchok Kosofsky was born in Chicago Chof Adar 5691 (1931). He had the Z’chus of seeing the Frierdiker Rebbe as part of the Talmud Torah students, during the Chicago visit of 5702. This indelible impression was the foundation of his life as a Chabad Chossid, Mekushar and Askan.
He was from the first activists of the Lubavitch community of Chicago for decades. What needed to be done – he did.
When hook-ups of the Rebbe’s farbrengens began, he immediately organized the hook-up in Chicago in his home. Chicago was one of the first cities to sign up with WLCC. Broadcasting a phone call was not as simple in those days. He experimented with different ways to attach wires from the old-fashioned phone box to a reel-to-reel tape recorder borrowed from Mr. Yankel Katz. Most of the Rebbe’s farbrengens were broadcast in his house, which many Chasidim attended.
The Kosofsky house was a hub for Shiurim and Peulos for many years.
With his deep love for the Rebbe, he single-handedly organized the Seudas Hoda’ah of Rosh Chodesh Kislev, from the first year and continuing every year after. Often, he personally was the cook of the event. After leaving Chicago, he continued his involvement in the Rosh Chodesh Kislev Seudos of Simcha Monica.
He was from the founders and strong advocates of Cholov Yisroel in Chicago, for which he merited to receive much encouragement from the Rebbe. As one of the first Lubavitchers in Chicago, he was Gabbai and very involved in the B’nei Ruven Shul for many years. He was a role model for younger people of a sincere, full-fledged Lubavitcher.
He was from the founders and board members of the Lubavitch Girl’s High School of Chicago and of Bnos Rabbeinu High School of Chicago. He worked tirelessly, managing the schools with devotion and Miseras Nefesh.
His wife, Tibadel L’Chayim, was the founder of FREE of Chicago, which began in their house. She deeply cared and worked with complete dedication to help the newly arrived Russian emigrants
During his first Yechidus in Tammuz 5715, the Rebbe encouraged him to learn Tanya. He started learning with Rabbi Dovid Moshe Lieberman, who lived in Chicago at that time. Over the years, Mr. Kosofsky studied with Rabbi Yehoshua Goodman, OB”M, and – yibadel lechaim tovim – Chazan Willhelm Silber.
Numerous rabbis who came to Chicago to raise funds, and Bochurim who came on Merkoz Shlichus, knew they could find a place to stay at 3126 W. Hood during their visit to Chicago. These included Rabbi Avraham Drizin (Mahyohr), Rabbi and Mrs. Goldstein of the Diaspora Yeshiva, Rabbi Hershel Morozov, Rabbi Levi Goldstein, as well as Russian-speaking Bochurim who came to help with FREE, and many, many others. Many of those Bochurim are Shluchim to the Russian-speaking community today.
He embodied humility, Emes and Chessed. He did – unassumingly, and often with great self-sacrifice.
As the community of Anash in Chicago grew with young families of baalei teshuva, many of them turned to Mr. Kosofsky and his wife for guidance and advice. They earned the respect of the community for their integrity, down-to-earth attitude, and sense of humor.
In 5774, he and his wife moved in with their daughter and son-in-law, shluchim to Simcha Monica, CA. He continued to attend minyan twice a day and studied Gemara on his iPad.
He is survived by his wife, Reitza Kosofsky, and children, all of whom are in Klei Kodesh, as Shluchim and Melamdim. Nechama Prus – Boston, MA; Mina Gordon – Melbourne, Australia; Noach Kosofsky – Springfield, MA; Chaim Kosofsky – Springfield, MA; Chany Mochkin – Rochester, NY; Baila Chein – Buenos Aires, Argentina; Lipman Kosofsky – Crown Heights; Sara Levitansky – Simcha Monica, CA; Devora Baumgarten – White Meadows, NJ; as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, many of whom are Shluchim around the world.
Baruch Dayan Ha’Emes