By COLlive reporter
R’ Berel Raskin, Crown Heights fishmonger whose small shop on Kingston Avenue became a world-renowned commercial enterprise, passed away on Shabbos, 20 Iyar, 5779.
He was 85.
R’ Berel, one of four brothers, was born in Leningrad to his parents, the Chosid Reb Aaron Leib Laine HY”D and Doba Raiza Raskin OBM, who had much mesiras nefesh for Yiddishkeit in Communist Russia.
Reb Aaron Leib was arrested many times, especially on Shabbos, because he was stringent not to carry on Shabbos and was unable to furnish his identity cards when asked. “It was almost like a ritual,” Berel once told Mishpacha Magazine. “After Havdalah, my mother would go to the police station and bring my father his papers, so he could be released.”
The family eventually moved from Leningrad to Gorky, where the family suffered greatly, and his father passed away at the young age of 36.
It was left to R’ Berel’s mother, Doba Raiza, to somehow sustain herself and her four children, and she was determined to escape Russia with her family.
The family initially traveled to Poland, then Austria, and finally Paris. From there, Mrs. Raskin wrote to the Frierdiker Rebbe, asking whether they should seek entry to Israel or to America. The Rebbe advised them to travel to America, and in 1953 they arrived in New York.
When R’ Berel looked to start a business, he soon decided on opening a fish store, with the Rebbe’s encouragement. In 1961 he rented the store on Kingston Avenue, where the business is run from until today.
The Rebbe and Rebbetzin were loyal customers, receiving a fish order to their home from the store every week.
R’ Berel became a community icon, standing behind the counter and serving his customers for over 50 years.
His most famous item is his rolled gefilte fish, sold all around the world, the package bearing his smiling face.
He is survived by his wife Esther (nee Lipsker), and children Aaron Leib Raskin (Crown St.) – Crown Heights, Yossi Raskin – Crown Heights, Shloime Raskin – Crown Heights, Brocha Richler – Los Angeles, CA, Bassie Komar – Crown Heights, Chanie Greene – Rochester, MN, Doba Rimler – Crown Heights and Shaina Moss – Israel, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He is also survived by his brothers Michel Raskin, Dovid Laine, and Benzion Raskin, all of Crown Heights.
The Levaya will take place tomorrow, Sunday, leaving Shomrei Hadas in Boro Park at 12:30 pm and passing by 770 at 1:30 pm.
The family will be sitting Shiva at 395 Crown Street. The family requests to refrain from coming between 1:00 and 3:00 PM.
3 minyanim are needed. Shacharis times 7:00 AM, 7:45 AM and 8:30 AM. Mincha bizmano followed by Maariv.
R’ Michel Raskin is sitting Shiva at Boro Park Rehab Center 4915 10th Avenue, Brooklyn 11219
Please send your pictures and memories to [email protected]
Baruch Dayan Haemes.