Rabbi Shimon Raichik, a noted Torah scholar and rabbinic leader, led Congregation Levi Yitzchok of Los Angeles, a prominent Chabad-Lubavitch community in California. Widely known for his expertise on Jewish law and his passionate Chassidic persona, he would frequently receive calls from Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries around the world helping them navigate complex questions with his caring touch. He passed away on Wednesday, 20 Kislev, Nov. 24, at the age of 68.

Raichik was born in 1952 with his twin, Yossie, to Rabbi Shmuel Dovid and Lea Raichik, emissaries of the Previous Rebbe—Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of righteous memory—who sent the couple to Los Angeles in 1949, well before it had an established and bustling observant community.

Raichik and his siblings were among the first Chassidic children to be raised in California. After studying at the Rabbinical College of Canada in Montreal, Raichik was part of a group of students sent by the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson,of righteous memory—to Melbourne, Australia, to invigorate the local Chabad community and enliven the newly-established Rabbinical College of Australia and New Zealand. He studied and mentored in Melbourne from 1971 to 1973.

Shortly after completing his two years in Melbourne, he was selected for another assignment, this time to the yeshivah in Brunoy, France, outside Paris.

Following his marriage to Chana Leeba Gansburg, of Milan, Italy, in 1979, he continued his rabbinic studies at the Chabad kollel in the neighborhood of Crown Heights in Brooklyn, N.Y., before returning to Los Angeles in 1981 to join the faculty at Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad.

Raichik, second row from bottom, far right, as a student and mentor in Melbourne, Australia in 1972.
Raichik, second row from bottom, far right, as a student and mentor in Melbourne, Australia in 1972.

As the Chabad community in Los Angeles grew, Raichik became the rabbi of Congregation Levi Yitzchok in 1987, where he nurtured a vibrant community and was beloved for his teaching, leadership and sensitivity.

Over the years, he collected memories of his father’s flight from Nazi-occupied Poland to Shanghai, China, as well as his pioneering work in Los Angeles.

He was predeceased by his twin brother, Rabbi Yossie Raichik, in 2008.

In addition to his wife, Rabbi Shimon Raichik is survived by their children: Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Raichik (Boynton Beach, Fla.); Simi Ghods (Los Angeles); Rabbi Yisroel Noach Raichik (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Sterna Sarah Gurary (Los Angeles); Rabbi Moshe Raichik (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Chaya Mushka Zaltzman (Toronto, Canada); and Rabbi Avrohom Abba Raichik (Los Angeles).

He is also survived by his siblings: Rabbi Abi Raichik (Los Angeles); Rabbi Elazar Raichik (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Devorah Wilhelm (Portland, Ore.); Suri Klyne (Los Angeles); Rabbi Levi Raichik (Los Angeles); Rabbi Sholom Raichik (Gaithersburg, Md.); Rabbi Yankee Raichik (Los Angeles) and Chana Hanoka (Pasadena, Calif.).

A more extensive obituary is being prepared.

Quality time with grandchldren.
Quality time with grandchldren.