Rabbi Zalman Hillel Fendel passed away in April during the first days of Passover after battling COVID-19.

Every year with the approach of the High Holidays, congregants knew that they could expect to see Rabbi Zalman Hillel Fendel spend even more time in his local synagogue, preparing himself with reverence and awe for Yom Kippur, the Day of Judgement. He would sit for hours in study, talking only as he studied Torah, and on the day itself would stand as cantor with his melodic voice, stirring the souls of all in attendance.

He wrote books and compilations on the Talmud and Jewish law—a career that was closer to his heart than his profession as an accountant. His wisdom and sheer breadth of knowledge shone through his reserved demeanor; he remained grounded and relatable, despite his commitment to study.

When news of Fendel’s passing began to spread, mourners flocked to pay tribute online, one saying, “Rabbi Fendel, my close friend, study partner and neighbor, was one of the most honest persons I have ever met. He was a huge scholar, had a deep, creative and diverse intellect, saw goodness in all human beings and had compassion for the underclass and downtrodden.”

Another noted that the sheer number of tributes showed all that had to be said about this humble giant.

Fendel is survived by his wife, Tova, and their eight children, as well as his 10 siblings.

Readers are invited to express their condolences or memories of the departed in the Reader Comments box that follows this article.

To provide additional information for this article, or to submit the names and information about other Jewish victims of the coronavirus, please use this form.