By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Chaim Elozor Gorelik, a chossid of the Rebbe and longtime Shliach who inspired many Russian-speaking Jews across Australia, passed away on Monday, 21 Iyar 5781.
He was 74.
Rabbi Gorelik, nicknamed Lozik, was born in 1946, the youngest of 3 brothers who shared an incredible bond throughout their lives. His family was living in the border town of Lvov (now in Ukraine) from where his father, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Gorelik helped Chassidim escape the USSR.
When his father was arrested for this work and sentenced to 8 years in the gulag, his mother Mrs. Baila Gorelik took her 3 young sons and moved to Uzbekistan, where she raised them until her husband was released in 1954. Their home was permeated with Rebbe, Chassidus, Ahavas Yisroel and Mesiras Nefesh.
In 1971, at the Rebbe’s request, Rabbi Gorelik undertook the delicate task of rebuilding the matzeva of the Rebbe’s father, Harav Levi Yitzchok Schneerson in Alma Alta, Kazakhstan. The task required immense courage and ingenuity, as well as a sensitivity to the Rebbe’s will. It also carried the real risk of having his long-awaited exit visa from the USSR rescinded if it was discovered that he’d engaged in such work. But, in his own words, “the Rebbe himself had made the request, so I was willing to risk my freedom.” The results are the matzeva which brought the Rebbe much satisfaction and is there until today.
Immediately following the successful completion of this shlichus of the Rebbe, he and his parents left Soviet Russia to the land of Israel. While his parents stayed in Israel where their other 2 sons had settled, he moved on to New York.
In 1972, he got married to Reizl Gurewicz and at the Rebbe’s behest, he worked for Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe (FREE) in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights section, helping to look after the needs of recent Jewish immigrants from Russia.
In 1980, with the Rebbe’s strong encouragement, he and his wife moved on shlichus to Melbourne, Australia and established a branch of the FREE organization there for the many Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants.
He threw himself into his holy task and over the following four decades he facilitated for thousands of people to have a Bris, receive Jewish names and have a Pidyon Haben. He enabled hundreds of people to celebrate their bar and bas mitzvos and visited and cared for innumerable hospital patients.
He helped find proper housing and employment, set up assisted living arrangements for elderly people, led communal Shabbos and Yom Tov meals, officiated wedding ceremonies, organized education for children and adults, provided people with counseling, established a library in the Shule, distributed the TOPA CBET Jewish Russian newsletter throughout Melbourne and Sydney, and in order for students to avoid classes on Shabbos, he established a registered Language school for those who wished to take Russian as a high school subject.
His Chabad House grew to encompass and service second and third generations. His monumental impact on Russian Jewry has been deep and profound. The sheer number of people whose lives have been dramatically and positively influenced by Rabbi Gorelik is astounding.
All of this was done with his characteristic humor, his famous smile and intense kindness – and of course a complete and exemplary dedication to the Rebbe.
He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Reizl Gorelik, children Mrs. Rivka Sufrin (Melbourne, Australia), Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik (Fort Collins, Colorado), Rabbi Dovi Gorelik (Los Angeles, California), Mrs. Ester Potash (London, England), Mrs. Chana Mishulovin (Melbourne, Australia), Mrs. Devora Lew (London, England), Rabbi Sholem Gorelik (Melbourne, Australia) and Mina Gorelik (Melbourne, Australia).
He is also survived by his brother, Rabbi Mordechai (Motik) Gorelik (Nachlas Har Chabad, Israel).
He was predeceased by his brother Rabbi Sholem Ber Gorelik OBM – Shliach in Nachlas Har Chabad.
The levaya took place on Monday in Melbourne.
To send nichum aveilim to his children, email: [email protected]
To send nichum aveilim to his brother, email [email protected]
Baruch Dayan Haemes: Chaim Elozor ben Menachem Mendel.