Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Aizik Hodakov, Chief of Staff of the office of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson for more than 40 years, passed away Friday night, April 23, after a brief illness. He was 91 years old.

Born in the Russian town of Beshenkowitz on January 12, 1902 (Shevat 4, 5662) to Sholom Yisroel and Chaya Treina Hodakov, Chaim Mordechai Aizik moved to Riga, Latvia with his parents in 1904.

A born educator and pedagogue, young Chaim Mordechai was appointed principal of the Torah V'Derech Eretz school in Riga at the age of 18.


While still a young man, he was appointed head of Jewish education for the Latvian Ministry of Education.

When the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of righteous memory, moved to Riga (from Russia) in 1928, Rabbi Hodakov became drawn to the Rebbe and became part of the Rebbe's work force. It was during that period that he met the present Rebbe for the first time.

In 1940, when the previous Rebbe escaped from Poland, he asked Rabbi and Mrs. Hodakov to accompany him to the United States.

Some time after their arrival in the United States, the previous Rebbe appointed him as director of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch (the educational arm of the Lubavitch movement), Machne Israel (the social service arm), and Kehot Publication Society, all of which were under the present Rebbe's chairmanship.

In 1950, when the present Rebbe ascended to the helm of the world wide Chabad-Lubavitch movement, Rabbi Hodakov became his Chief-of-Staff and head of his secretariat. He was later appointed chairman of Agudas Chassidei Chabad, the umbrella organization that oversees the worldwide network of Chabad-Lubavitch organizations and institutions.

Rabbi Hodakov was a vigorous and resolute activist who innovated many educational ideas and programs. He was a role model for many young Chassidim in his demeanor and in his devotion to the Rebbe.

The funeral, which was held on Sunday, April 25, was attended by several thousand people, many of whom had managed to fly in from various parts of the United States. The procession filed past Lubavitch World Headquarters in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, and proceeded to the Old Montefiore Cemetery, in Springfield Gardens, New York. He was was interred next to the resting place of the previous Rebbe, of blessed memory.

He is survived by his wife, Ethel Tzerna, a noted educator and author, his son Sholom Yisroel and daughter Chaya Rivkah Kramer, and numerous grandchildren.