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Jay Litvin (1944-2004)

Jay Litvin (1944-2004)


The family mourns the untimely passing of our beloved Jay Litvin, and extends its condolences to the Litvin family and Jay's thousands of friends and disciples across the globe.

Jay was so much more than a contributing writer at He was a leader who blazed new pathways, taking us to places no one had dared or even imagined visiting before. In articles such as "Forgiveness," "Bitachon," "Sitting in a Café" and "Spiritual Warrior" he explored his inner life — his spiritual struggles, his faith and trust in G‑d, his love of life and fears for the future, his battle with his illness — with a courage, integrity and wisdom that made reading a Jay Litvin article a life-altering experience for so many of us.

Jay wrote about himself, but in doing so revealed to us things about ourselves so deep and true that often a reader found it hard to believe that he or she hadn't written the article themselves. The hundreds of letters that poured into Jay's e-mail inbox provide testimony after testimony of the tremendous impact he had on our lives, whether it was guiding us through a personal tragedy or showing us how to raise a child.

Amazingly, Jay achieved all this in the midst of a busy life devoted to running several large-scale humanitarian programs. Since 1990, he served as Medical Liaison for Chabad's Children of Chernobyl program, which airlifts children out of the areas contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. More recently, he established and ran Chabad's Terror Victims Project in Israel.

Jay is survived by his wife, Sharon; his seven children, aged 11 to 35; and his two sisters. has established the Jay Litvin Family Fund for their benefit.

For links to all of Jay's articles, click here.

We invite you to add a note to this page about how Jay Litvin has touched your life. Please use the "Post a Comment" form below (if you would like your message to be a private one for Jay's family only, please indicate this in your message and we will not post your comment publicly).

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William London April 30, 2014

I never met Jay but his writing was recommended to me when I ran a very small campaign to encourage people to give blood.

I subsequently learned Jay died from the same disease that killed my mother.

She wasn't religious, perhaps partly because she grew up through the holocaust and its shadow but she dedicated her life to using medicine to heal the sick and was amazingly good at it. She also loved people and life.

It seems to me that Jay brought hope , dignity and human kindness to his interaction with people.

In his article on loyalty he spoke about loyalty to fellow Jews in particular and his non religious parents.

I suspect he was also courageous and I know from what people say about him that he was valued, loved and inspiring.

Very much like my mum.

:) Reply

Joshua Mayorga Vancouver BC February 28, 2014

A new perspective came to me reading his article about how G-d might feel lonely and our love and worship of the Almighty comforts Him. Reply

Jordan Jay London April 13, 2011

Pesach I just read Jay-Litvin's story on how he came to Judaism from searching around Mexico.

How inspiring.

Chabad - kol hakavod... the Rebbe wants us all to continue burning the flame of Torah and Mitzvot and may we all be blessed to continue this holy work.

Kosher and simcha-filled Pesach to all of am Yisrael. May the dust be shaken off of all of us so we are 'uri uri shir dabeyri...kavod H" alyich nigla'. Reply

Anonymous April 25, 2010

He left a legacy behind. Just being a reader, I can sit for hours on end reading his many articles. I always feel uplifted and inspired by his eloquent words. May he have an elevation of soul by the inspiration he left in this world. Reply

Niki Split, Croatia August 19, 2009

Jay in Croatia His article Two plus two is five is one of my best.
Thank you Jay. Reply

Basyah Rus tx June 9, 2009

i have not been so moved as this morning having read jay levin's open and heartfelt article on prayer. I find myself so much closer to G-d to whom I felt so close already. His words resonate within my soul. As I too fight cancer, questions arise but the absolute answer is You You You for us all. Thank You G-d for helping jay to write these words and for me to find them at exactly the right time. Sharon and children you will all be in my prayers newely experienced through your husband and father.
Basyah Rus Reply

J S May 17, 2009

Bitachon I have been inspired by many of Jay's articles. But then I read the one titled Bitachon. Not only is it amazing how he clearly and excitingly explicates a delicate and profound idea, it is also an article that I think I can read each day before davening. It really puts my head in the right place. Reply

Anonymous San Diego , CA March 6, 2008

farwell Jay I sit here in San Diego being nostalgic about my days in Milwaukee and googled some of the folks I knew "back then". My first reaction when I read of Jay's passing was to tear up... and then as he always did... his memory brought a smile to my memory and to my heart. What an amazing teacher and gentle soul was Jay. I am so honored to have known him. My condolences to his family. Reply

ken feinstein milton, fl October 2, 2007

jay litvin i read his story about his first was so full of life and thought... L'Chaim , Jay, we are with you all the way. Reply

Anonymous bklyn, ny April 12, 2007

living on and redemption Jay's messages are so liberating. they help us expand to have more of the truth within ourselves. He clearly lives on here, and at the same time he is with G-d above, who, in His infinite wisdom has him up high. We don't understand this, and it is hard, but somehow one can't help but notice that the really special ones are taken back early. We MUST learn from whatever they left us in the short time they were here.
all the comments were just beautiful, especially from Dr. Tzvi Yehuda Saks, who sadly was also taken from us after he wrote (above) this for Jay's family. If you study his words, you will see that he had been determined to live a doubly more meaningful life for this loss, and we should all take that thought into consideration.
thankyou to for providing us with the ability to have all this wisdom to read so easily. Reply

Eric S. Kingston North Hollywood, CA April 12, 2007

Jay's Deeds Jay wrote 67 articles for, ( 6 + 7 = 13, the numerical value of ahava = love) and he may be remembered for them, but Jay Litvin also “made numerous trips to Belarus and Ukraine to airlift Jewish children from the contaminated areas to Israel.” He will most surely be remembered for that.

Rabbi Akiba asked, "If you have a thousand dinars & you give three hundred to charity, how many do you possess?" "Seven hundred,” his students answered. No. You truly possess only the three hundred you gave away. Anything could happen to the seven hundred you "have." You could be robbed or lose them in a business deal. But no one can take from you the all the good you've done, all the people you've helped.” Reply

Florence Hannah Elkins Park, Pa August 25, 2005

Essays by Jay Litvin I have saved a few of Jay's Essays and read them to my clients from time to time. Whenever I read them my soul responds.

Is there any way to access his writings? Does his family have any plans of compiling his writings into a book? Reply

Miriam Gould Raleigh/Pittsburgh, NC/PA May 6, 2005

Jay Litvin BS"D
I still have his email address in our email addressbook. I can't bear to erase it... Hatzlocha to his family. It would be helpful... in light of those who have passed know how the family is doing. His along with Chezi Goldberg ( & many others) touched our lives and our family and perhaps their own families are forgotten when most likely they could use support in more than one way. Reply

Bill Bittner Pittsburgh, PA May 6, 2005

The Practice of Questioning I enjoy Jay's writing the most when he asks a lot of questions. And especially when he doesn't have the answers to them. It is comforting to know that such a wise and compassionate man wonders and questions like I always do. And he fears and worries like all of us do. It seems he rarely preaches, but offers theories instead. I believe that one of the reasons that we are here on this earth is to learn. And we can only learn by asking more and more questions, rather than saying "I know everything there is to know about this, and there is nothing more to learn. I have no more questions."

Thank you for your thoughts. Reply

Rivka Australia May 5, 2005

Nothing I say can change anything, but what Jay said changed something. It changed me. The 1st story I ever read was "How a Stupid Little Ruler Chnaged My Life". It made me think for a very long time. It made me look at my life, and remember what is important and what is not. All of Jays writing inspired me, made me laugh, made me cry and made me feel connected. Thank you for sharing your life with us Jay, and bringing yiddishkeit and Torah to the world. May your family be comforted in their sorrow and may Moshiach come speedily in our days. Reply

douglas hippchen Ojai, Ca/U.S.A. May 4, 2005

Jay Litvin Jay Litvin illuminated without compare the issues of terror in my life.Truly my reading was only interrupted by tears, that Jay put into words, what I could understand with an ease of comprehension only paralelled with reading the Torah itself! Gifted brilliantly with inspirational compassion and wisdom, always shining light in the darkest places of my heart to give me strength in place of weakness, comfort in place of anxiety, understanding in place of distress. In the future I would hope to find his works published that I might keep them as a guarded treasure amongst the finest writings available for myself and my children. My respect and deepest gratitude for the gifts he has given me, a blessed teacher. Reply

yonah ginsburg monsey, NY May 2, 2005

Jay Litvin The sense of shock is overpowering: I just discovered that author Jay Litvin died! He was one of my very favorite authors on this Web site. His work was deep, meaningful and oh so real. No canned trite stories, no serene platitudes, whatever he wrote about the reader knew Jay Litvin had experienced it, he actually lived it.
Baruch Dayan Emes!! Reply

Anonymous San Diego, Ca November 17, 2004

Jay 1976 I saw those same angels in bright colors, wow dared not tell anyone.

Well the next angel I see will probably look a lot like Jay. Reply

ore November 12, 2004

thanks jay First let me say sorry about jays passing. Second is that you should remeber the good things. May your family have alot of chazzack. Reply

Susanna Loewy Milavsky Stockholm, Sweden July 11, 2004

Thank you Jay! Thank you Jay, for the insights you have given me!

I have never met you, but I feel a great loss with you not being among us anymore. You have given me insights nobody has ever given me before. Many were the times when I read what you wrote, and I started to cry, because I felt your words are so very true. You have taught me how to understand G-d and our mutual relationship with G-d as people. I have read "You warned me" over and over, and I have never ever in my whole life read anything as beautiful and touching. And surely true.
I have admired your strength and your struggling has given me strengt to go on struggling too (even though it was some other kind of struggling).
I always waited eagerly for your next article, I have nearly all your articles printed out so I can read them again and again.

And I have thought about you many, many times, hoping you are better, and also many times prayed for your recovery.

But G-d wanted it to be different. Today your soul knows more about all the mysteries that await us all in the future.

I send my deeepest sympathy and condolence to your family. I also miss you very much, I feel I have lost a teacher and a soulmate. I will miss looking forward to your next articles. But I will always treasure very much every one of them I have ever read. I will never forget you.

Thank you again! Reply

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