Rabbi Yosef Yehuda Loschak, 62


Rabbi Yosef Yehuda Loschak, 62

by Mordechai Lightstone - S. Barbara, CA

July 7, 2014

 


Rabbi Yosef Yehuda Loschak, the Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to S. Barbara, CA and a pioneer in Jewish education on the Internet, passed away on Tuesday, July 1. He was 62 years old.

The only child of Holocaust survivors in Melbourne, Australia, Loschak dedicated his life to rebuilding a world his parents had seen all but destroyed.

Together with his wife Devorah, in 1979 he established Chabad of S. Barabara in the popular California coastal-town. In addition to his communal duties, Loschak served as the head of Chabad’s prison chaplaincy work in the state of California, served on the editorial board of the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute and gave advice to thousands online as a Jewish scholar for the website AskMoses.com.

Rabbi Loschak established a vibrant Jewish community, a synagogue, day school, Hebrew school, summer camp, mikvah, and a satellite Chabad-house at the University of California, S. Barbara. Loschak and his wife were responsible for inspiring thousands of individuals to explore their Jewish heritage and embrace a Jewish lifestyle. Among those he inspired, many are now serving as Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries.

Family members recall that even after he was weakened through illness, he went to great lengths to be attentive to every individual he encountered.

His son, Rabbi Ahrele Loschak said: “My father never lost focus on the humanity of those he encountered,” Loschak recalls. “He once told me that it’s important to understand the context behind the questions people ask. To look beyond the query and instead see the human being.”

Loschak’s advice to his son proved key in his pioneering work online. As one of the scholars for the AskMoses.com website, he would answer questions through anonymous chat and email with people from all walks of life.

Rabbi Simcha Backman, the Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to Glendale, California and the director of AskMoses.com, recalls his colleague and friend as “a gem of a man, and an outstanding shliach.” “I worked closely with Rabbi Loschak for almost to 10 years,” Backman told Lubavitch.com. ”I would often get calls from him late at night or in the wee hours of the morning regarding AskMoses.com – testimony to his untiring commitment to helping people in their time of need. There are so many people that today attribute their spiritual survival and even their physical well-being to Rabbi Loschak.“

In recent years, many of the younger Chabad emissaries turned to Loschak for personal advice and counsel in running a Chabad house. Never one to shy away from giving direct advice and honest critique, he was described by a colleague “as an anchor” in the community of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries.

A dedicated family man, Loschak would make the one hundred mile trip from S. Barbara to Los Angeles, to visit his children where they attended cheder and Yeshivah. Even in the hospital, Loschak would introduce his children and grandchildren to the doctors and hospital staff with pride.

Loschak passed away on the third of Tammuz, the twentieth yahrtzeit of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of saintly memory, whom he served throughout his life with vigor and dedication.

Rabbi Yosef Yehuda Loschak is survived by his wife Devorah and his children, many of them themselves Chabad emissaries around the country, Rabbi Mendel Loschak, Shterna Kudan, Ella Potash, Nechama Dena Dinerman, Rabbi Ahrele Loschak, Rabbi Hersh Loschak, Mushky Rabin, Yochi Lipinski, Estee Steinmetz, Avi Loschak, Miri Loschak and Chaim Loschak.

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