For most of his formative years, Rabbi Solomon (Shlomo Elazar) Wulliger had a passion for helping others and promoting growth. He passed away on April 6 as a result of complications due to COVID-19.

Wulliger was born in New York City’s Lower East Side in 1939 and studied in Yeshiva Torah Vodaath.

When he was 21, he moved from New York to Tucson, Ariz., to lead the local Jewish community, defying skeptics to successfully open and run a new Jewish day school. Out of need, he also learned and became a mohel there.

Proving a unique ability to nurture a Jewish infrastructure, Wulliger held leadership positions in California, and then the Bronx and Canarsie, N.Y., before settling in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he opened a new synagogue in short order. It quickly attracted a devoted crowd, who recognized the multifaceted rabbi’s appeal.

A grounded and humble leader, Wulliger was a passionate advocate for the inclusion of developmentally disabled children at a time when there was a stigma attached to keeping special children at home, writing I Am My Brother’s Keeper and welcoming a 5-year-old child with Down syndrome into his own family.

Wulliger is survived by his wife, Baila; their five children; and grandchildren.

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