By COLlive reporter
Dr. Yitzchok Block, a professor of philosophy and one of the Rebbe’s first Shluchim to the University of Western Ontario, passed away on Wednesday, Tishrei 14, 5778.
He was 86.
Dr. Block earned his PhD in Philosophy at Harvard University in 1958. His professional areas of interest were Aristotle and Wittgenstein.
In an interview with JEM, he said it was the Rebbe who made him a “great philosopher.”
Dr. Block and his wife Leah obm were dedicated Shluchim spreading Judaism in London, Ontario, hosting dozens of people every Friday night and Shabbos day, and bringing many people closer to Yiddishkeit.
Together, they established and ran the London Hebrew Day School and Chabad on Campus at the University of Western Ontario where Dr. Block was a Professor of Philosophy.
Dr. Block was one of the founders of the only Orthodox congregation in London, Ontario, Congregation Beth Tefilla.
For decades, Dr. Block was a popular speaker at the “pegisha” events, where people interested in Judaism would come to Crown Heights to experience a Shabbos with the Rebbe.
He was especially known for his “all nighter” farbrengens with students, which produced many baalei teshuva.
Many future shluchim would also come and listen to his talks, to learn from his method and style.
For decades, he traveled the world giving lectures on Judaism from his unique perspective of someone with a doctorate in philosophy, who was intellectually and emotionally convinced of the truth of Judaism.
During the eighties he and his wife were sent by the Rebbe as undercover shluchim to Russia, where he spread Judaism and encouraged the Chabad underground network.
He was predeceased by his wife Leah in 2013.
He is survived by his children; Rabbi Chaim Block (S. Antonio TX), Rabbi Levi Block (Westfield, NJ), Rabbi Mendy Block (Plano, TX), Mrs. Chani Zalmanov (Queens, NY), Rabbi Shmuli Block (Crown Heights), Mrs. Rivkie Baron (Crown Heights), Mr. Avraham Block, and Mrs. Basie Gurkow (London, ONT. Canada).
The funeral will be held G-d willing later this afternoon in Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, NY.
As is customary, due to the approaching holiday of Sukkot this evening, a full Shiva will not be observed.
Baruch Dayan Ha’emes – R’ Yitzchok Leib ben Chaim Ahron.