In 1975, Rabbi Leibel Katz began a daily Talmud class. Until his final illness, he missed nary a day. He passed away on April 20 after battling COVID-19.

Katz was a well-respected authority on Jewish law, his reputation spanning the globe. In addition to his position as rabbi of the Zichron Yosef congregation in Brooklyn’s Borough Park neighborhood, he served as rabbi of Camp Ohr Shraga each summer.

He taught thousands of young men the ins-and-outs of establishing a Jewish family as he prepared them for marriage—some at his face-to-face classes and others who studied his ever-popular book Ohel Aryeh, a treatise on the laws of family purity.

A truly passionate educator, Katz never took payment for his marriage-preparation classes.

A rabbi with broad halachic expertise, Katz was considered an expert in life-cycle events. From his work on family purity to his Chesed Shel Emes—a scholarly guide to the laws of mourning—Katz was the address for countless individuals, many he never met in person. His scholarly responsa to colleagues is published in his four-volume work, Shaalos Utshuvos Ohel Aryeh.

An intense scholar, Katz wasn’t aloof, remembered as a humble and approachable family man.

His niece, Gitty Zolty, paying tribute to her beloved uncle in the Flatbush Jewish Journal, wrote, “I started to attend sleepaway camp at the tender young age of 7. In those days, we were rarely allowed to call home, so getting mail was a very big deal. It assuaged a bit of homesickness, and made us feel loved and cared about. When the office girl distributed the mail to each bunk during lunchtime, every camper waited with baited breath to see if there would be a letter addressed to her in the pile. For many years, every week, without fail, I was the lucky recipient of an erev Shabbos letter from my uncle, Rav Laibel. Not only did he inquire about how camp was and share an age-related dvar Torah, there was always a quarter enclosed. (25 cents actually bought something in the canteen then!) My brothers, too, received their weekly letter and fortune when they began attending camp.”

Katz is survived by his wife, Raizy Katz, and their children: Shmuli Katz, Yanky Katz, Shragie Katz, Dassy Katz, Shaindy Grunwald and Tzippy Ridiker; and grandchildren. He is also survived by siblings Chanina Katz, Dovid Katz, Aharon Katz, Avi Katz, Elky Korb and Chany Weinschneider.

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.