Lorne Rozovsky—lawyer, author, educator and human-rights advocate—died Aug. 5 at his home in Bloomfield, Conn., after a 15-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 70 years old.
Rozovsky took an active interest in Jewish teachings, life and philosophy, and began penning columns for The Richmond Jewish News, a publication of Chabad-Lubavitch of Virginia. “Month after month,” says Allie Vered, former editor of the monthly newspaper, “Lorne came up with new ideas, thoroughly researching rituals, habits and misnomers before transforming them into informative and fascinating columns.”
Rozovsky was the grandson of Jewish immigrants from Russia who settled in Canada more than 100 years ago.
He spent his later years in the United States after a distinguished law career in Canada, where he was made Queen’s Counsel in Nova Scotia. He wrote 18 books and more than 600 articles on health and Canadian law; his books became a staple in the Canadian health community and serve as texts in law schools across Canada today.
Before entering private practice, Rozovsky served as legal counsel to the Ministry of Health in Nova Scotia. A past member of the faculties of law, medicine and dentistry at Dalhousie University in Halifax, he was instrumental in establishing the Health Law Institute. A student writing award at the institute was recently established to honor him and his wife, Fay.
Among his books were The Canadian Patient’s Book of Rights,AIDS and Canadian Law, and Canadian Hospital Law, said to be the first book on the subject published in Canada. He was the only Canadian to be named an honorary fellow for life by the American College of Legal Medicine. In 2012 he was named an honorary “Kentucky Colonel” by the governor of that state.
Rozovsky took great pride in his articles on Judaism, and was ecstatic when the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute republished one of them as a reference in one of its classes. He then contributed his Richmond Jewish News articles to the Chabad.org website and built a lasting relationship with Rabbi Dovid Zaklikowski, at the time a senior editor there.
“He understood Jewish readership,” says Zaklikowski. “He grasped the language that was needed to take a complex subject and make it understandable to those with no background in Jewish studies, yet he presented it in a novel way that could be appreciated by anyone.”
Vered says Rozovsky was always full of ideas and questions, “and loved to discuss them with others, seeking out their thoughts and opinions. He had tremendous respect for intellect and a mind wide open. His interest was always to fully understand all perspectives, without bias. Conversations with Lorne were always entertaining: His voice had a tone of enthusiasm that was contagious. Lorne found the perfect outlet to delight in the obscure, first through The Richmond Jewish News.”
His articles covered such topics as “Jews and Shoes”, “Will Ladino Rise Again?”, “What Is an Eruv?” and “Abi Gezunt: ‘Be Healthy!’ ”
He often discussed his work with Zaklikowski. “I would sit with him over a large Talmud or Code of Jewish Law, and explain to him from the text the reasoning behind various traditions,” recalls Zaklikowski. “He would savor those moments of learning something new and appreciating the complexity of how the Jewish sages reached their conclusions.”
In their last meeting, just over a month ago in Rozovsky’s home, he told Zaklikowski that life could have not been better: “I have a wonderful family, friends and colleagues. I have been blessed with a great life.”
Rabbi Mendel Samuels director of Chabad of Farmington Valley in Simsbury, Conn., fondly remembers time spent with Rozovsky. They connected a number of years back when Rozovsky moved to the area. Early on, he would come to the Chabad every Shabbat, says Samuels.
“He was just a wonderful man—everyone loved to hear what he had to say,” Samuels says, recalling how Rozovsky was curious about everything and took it all in with a smile. “He was a proud Jew, and he will be greatly missed.”
Rozovsky was laid to rest in New Brunswick, Canada.
He is survived by his wife, Fay Rozovsky, and their sons, Josh and Aaron.