Harav Mordechai Shmuel Ashkenazi, a scholar and authority on Jewish law who served as Chief Rabbi of Kfar Chabad for 40 years, has passed away suddenly on Wednesday, 23 Teves, 5775.
He was 71.
Rabbi Ashkenazi had been traveling to Teverya, Israel to visit the gravesite of his father on his Yahrtzeit, when he suffered a heart attack. He was transported to Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer, where he was passed away.
Rabbi Ashkenazi was born into a prominent Rabbinical family, his grandfather Rabbi Eliezer Karasik served as the Rav of the Chabad community of Tel Aviv.
Rabbi Ashkenazi attended the Chabad Yeshiva of Tel Aviv and then in Lod, Israel. When he was 20 he traveled to learn in 770 Eastern Parkway, in New York.
After his marriage to Rebbetzin Sima , daughter of Rabbi Yitzchok Volpo of Jerusalem, he received Smicha from the first Rabbi of Kfar Chabad.
A few years later, at the age of 31, he was appointed as Chief Rabbi of Kfar Chabad, after the passing of Rabbi Schneur Zalman Garelik obm in a car accident.
Rabbi Ashkenazi was also a member of the Chabad Beis Din – Vaad Rabonei Chabad in Israel.
In the 1970’s he began writing books on hilchos Talmud Torah based on the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, and only a few years later had already published 6 volumes. He received recognition from Harav Kuk’s organization for Torah publishers, and received the title “Gadol BaTorah” from Israel’s Rabanut Harashit.
In the last few years he started a project to explore Jewish and Chabad minhagim, and every week he published an article in the Kfar Chabad magazine about a different custom. The first book of this set, titled Shaarei Tefillah Uminhag, was published a year ago.
This Thursday Rabbi Ashekenazi would have been marking 40 years as Chief Rabbi of Kfar Chabad, and his family had been planning an event to mark the occasion.
He is survived by his wife Sima, and children: Gitah Brod; Rivkah Kaplan – Sitriyah, Israel; Rabbi Meir Ashkenazi – Tzfas, Israel; Rabbi Chaim Eliezer Ashkenazi – Montreal, Canada; Rabbi Zelig Ashkenazi – Yekaterinburg, Russia; Mrs. Chaya Feigel Wilhelm – Detroit, MI; Rabbi Menachem Mendel Ashkenazi; Rabbi Schneur Zalman Ashkenazi; Rabbi Sholem Ber Ashkenazi; Rabbi Yossi Ashkenazi; Rabbi Yisrolik Ashkenazi and Yehuda Ashkenazi – all of Israel; grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He is also survived by his siblings Mrs. Malka Wilshansky – Tzfas, Israel and Mrs. Esther Twersky – Brooklyn, NY.
The Levaya will take place tomorrow, Thursday at 10 am in Kfar Chabad and will continue to Teverya for burial.
Baruch Dayan Haemes.