Reb Gedalia Shaya Lichtenstein, zatzal
It is with great sadness that we note the recent passing on the 10th of Tammuz of our alumnus, Reb Gedalia Shaya Lichtenstein, zatzal. Reb Gedalia was also the father of another alumnus, l'badel bein chaim l'chaim, Reb Chaim Lichtenstein.
Reb Gedalia was a man who succeeded in ruchnius and gashmius throughout the many chapters of his life, and he left a legacy to his family of love and devotion to Hashem and to the Jewish People. He was a man who believed in excellence and perseverance. He started his working career as a NYC public school math teacher. To supplement his income he worked as a Good Humor ice cream man. Soon, his entrepreneurial nature kicked in, and he started his own accounting practice, hiring CPAs and growing and expanding his tax preparation service business. As his reputation grew he expanded his office, and soon opened up new offices all under the name Witt Tax Centers, which he took public in the 1960’s while yet a young man.
He then moved into real estate, buying buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Reb Gedalia was a lifelong Zionist. When he was in his late 50s he fulfilled his dream of making aliyah and moved to Israel with his wife Yocheved. In Nahariya, where he first lived in Israel, he was often asked: Why would a New Yorker move to Israel and not stay in New York and make money? He decided to move to the Holy City of Jerusalem, where that question is seldom asked. He rented an apartment in Ma’alot Dafna, and began to receive many invitations for Shabbos meals. He wanted to explore Judaism, and when it was suggested to him that he attend classes at Ohr Somayach Yeshiva, he agreed. His holy neshama was ignited by the words of Torah he heard, and by the spirituality and the happiness of the talmidim and rabbeim there. He developed relationships with the Roshei HaYeshiva — Rabbi Weinbach (zatzal), Rabbi Bulman (zatzal) and, l’badel bein chaim l’chaim, Rabbi Nota Schiller (shlita), and many other members of the staff. He had a young and inquiring mind and was constantly growing. For various reasons he had to move back to the States to Crown Heights in New York, where he served as a teacher and a coach of young children, and was an integral member of the Chabad community. He leaves a wife, two sons, two daughters and many grandchildren, who are all following in his footsteps, seeking accomplishments in this world and the next.
May his memory be for a blessing.