By COLlive reporter
Dr. Alexander Imich, who was announced by the Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living man, as well as the oldest Jewish person, passed away on Sunday, 10 Sivan 5774.
He was 111-years-old and died peacefully at 9:03 a.m., according to reports.
A retired chemist and parapsychologist, Imich reconnected with his Judaism a few months ago, thanks to some visits from Rabbi Pinny Marozov, co-director of Chabad of Coney Island in Brooklyn, NY.
The rabbi first visited Imich in the hospital back in February. An ensuing visit to his home, after Imich was released and began recovering, had him affixing a mezuzah to Imich’s apartment doorway in the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Marozov helped the senior citizen don tefillin and later told Chabad.org that he didn’t think Imich had put on tefillin since his bar mitzvah—nearly 100 years ago—in Czestochowa, Poland.
Imich was visited again by Chabad just before Passover and received handmade shmurah matzah. “He knew about the matzah. I showed it to him and right away he knew. And he knew Pesach was a very important Jewish holiday,” Marozov said.
Imich earned a Ph.D. in chemistry. He survived the Holocaust, spending two years in a Russian labor camp near the White Sea. In 1951, he immigrated to the United States with his wife, Wela, who passed away in 1986.
He spent his career working as a chemist, ultimately trying to prove to other scientists that the neshama, the soul, survives physical death. In 1995, at the age of 92, Imich edited and published a book called Incredible Tales of the Paranormal about his theory.
Imich, who was also named the oldest living war veteran and the first ‘oldest living man’ to hold a doctorate, attributed some of his health to a clean diet — chicken, fish, no alcohol — and participating in gymnastics and swimming in his younger days.
Baruch dayan haemes.