By COLlive reporter
Mr. Shloime Elimelech Goldstein, owner of the renowned hat store chain Bencraft Hatters, passed away on Thursday, 9 Cheshvan 5776.
He was 83.
Stanley Goldstein was known to frum Jews around New York and the world as the owner of the Bencraft hat store in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg area that was established in 1949 by his father, Ben Goldstein.
Stanley joined the business in 1954, which soon expanded to a second location on 13th Avenue in Boro Park, Brooklyn.
Chassidim of all types have been purchasing their hats from Goldstein for generations, which were sold with his unique personality and charm.
“He was a very charming, personable and generous person,” Bencraft employee Yitzi Feigenson told COLlive.com. “He had a smile that really struck you. He was a true gentleman.”
Aside from selling the famous Chabad fedora to thousands of Lubavitchers and Shluchim worldwide, Goldstein had the merit to provide the Lubavitcher Rebbe with his hats.
At one particular occasion, the Rebbe was seen tipping his hat to Goldstein, when he came to 770 Eastern Parkway for a blessing. This rare gesture happened after a secretary introduced Goldstein to the Rebbe. A photo of that moment proudly hangs in the store.
“He was very proud that he had the merit of getting the Rebbe his hat every year,” noted his friend, Rabbi Yerachmiel Benjaminson, Chairman of Tzivos Hashem, who was present at that encounter.
A resident of Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, Goldstein, along with his son Steven, are generous supporters of a number of Chabad causes, including Bris Avrohom of New Jersey and Tzivos Hashem International, who honored them at a few of their dinners.
“He was a legend,” said long-time employee in the Boro Park store Asher Bitton. “He was a ba’al Tzedaka to so many people and organizations. People had no idea of the extent of his kindess. He had a huge respect for the Rebbe and Chabad, and gave discounts to many Shluchim.”
The levaya will take place tomorrow, Friday at 11:00 am at Sinai Chapels, 162-05 Horace Harding Expy, Fresh Meadows, NY 11365.
Baruch Dayan Haemes.