Rabbi Yehuda Michoel Meisels passed away on April 20 after contracting and succumbing to COVID-19.

From a young age, he started teaching.

Soon after he married Hennie Tress—the daughter of legendary Agudath Israel leader Reb Elimelech “Mike” Tress—in 1960, they moved to Cleveland. There, he joined his alma mater, the Telshe Yeshiva, in a teaching and mentoring position for the younger students.

In 1970, Meisels was appointed principal of the recently created Sara Schenirer High School in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. Based on the philosophy of its namesake, Meisels motivated and encouraged girls enrolled in the school to become teachers themselves. His wife also taught at the school.

He eventually became dean and president of the school, and his wife the principal.

Meisels was also a pioneer in special education, which he hoped would encourage his young charges to learn how to help and work with children living with disabilities. A teacher training program in this field was added to the high school in the 1980s, well before it became more universal.

Thousands of students benefited over decades from his style and model of teaching.

A former student paid tribute to Meisels, calling him an amazing man whose demeanor was always gentle and kind with those under his tutelage.

Predeceased by his wife in 2016, he is survived by their 10 children; grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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