Rabbi Nachman Sudak, director of Chabad's operations in the UK, 78


Rabbi Nachman Sudak, director of Chabad's operations in the UK, 78

Kehot Publication Society

Rabbi Nachman Sudak

by Mordechai Lightstone - London, England

June 16, 2014

Rabbi Nachman Sudak, the director of Chabad’s operations in the United Kingdom who spearheaded the movement’s massive expansion in the country and a member of Chabad-Lubavitch’s international leadership, passed away on Sunday, June 15. He was 78.

Under Sudak’s leadership, Chabad-Lubavitch’s presence in the UK became a powerful force for Jewish education. Today it includes a network of some 14 schools, and emissaries to some 25 communities and 11 campuses across the country.

In recognition of Sudak’s role in the Chabad movement’s work with British youth, Queen Elizabeth II awarded him the Order of the British Empire honor, in 2001.

Born to Pinchas and Chaya Basya Sudak in the Soviet Union, as a child Sudak studied in Chabad’s network of underground schools. When the family emigrated to Israel, Sudak continued his studies, first in Israel and then in New York.

After studying in the central Chabad yeshivah in Brooklyn, Sudak became engaged to Fradel Shemtov, the daughter of Rabbi Bentzion Shemtov, who then headed Chabad’s educational efforts in London. Following their engagement, Sudak consulted the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of saintly memory, and was advised to get married in London where he and his wife should, said the Rebbe, take up residence as Chabad emissaries.

As the wedding approached, Sudak sought the Rebbe’s guidance about his mission in London. At the time, the formal Chabad house concept had only begun to be developed, and the day-to-day operations of a Chabad emissary were far from set in stone.

In a statement from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi Emeritus of the United Kingdom, he said, "Rabbi Nachman Sudak guided the destiny of Chabad in Britain for more than 50 years, turning it from a marginal presence to one that affected tens of thousands of lives and changed the entire tone of Anglo-Jewry. Quiet, thoughtful and introspective, he was a man of passion and principle whose patient leadership was a major factor in the growth of the movement in this country. He was a man I greatly respected and admired, and it was a privilege to know him and be inspired by him."

Reflecting personally on Sudak’s life, his daughter-in-law, Chana Sudak of Brooklyn, recalls someone who was “the epitome of a chasid.”

“My father-in-law lived and breathed every word of the Rebbe,” Chana Sudak recalls. “To his children, grandchildren and so many others, he was a source of inspiration and dedication to the Rebbe’s work.”

Rabbi Nachman Sudak is survived by his wife, Mrs. Fradel Sudak, their children Rabbi Leivi Sudak, Mrs. Bassie Raskin, Mrs. Esther Kesselman, Mrs. Chanie Alperowitz, Rabbi Kasriel Sudak, Rabbi Mendy Sudak, Rabbi Sholom Ber Sudak, Rabbi Zalman Sudak, and Rabbi Bentzi Sudak. He is survived by his siblings Mrs. Batsheva Schochet of Toronto and Mrs. Bracha Bogomilsky, as well as countless grandchildren, many of them serving as Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries around the world.

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