With great and profound sorrow, we received the sad news that Reb Yisroel Shmuel Braun was niftar this past Shabbos, 4 Shevat.
Reb Yisroel was born approximately 94 years ago in the city of Zaviryitze, Poland. Several years before the war, he merited to learn in the famous Beis Meir Yeshiva of Krakow, along with Reb Mendel Weits, z”l, (also from Zaviryitze) and, yblc”t, Reb Moshe Sheinfeld, shlita. The three would remain close friends throughout their lives.
Reb Yisroel would frequently reminisce about a particular highlight of his life: being zocheh to be at the bar mitzvah of the Gerrer Rebbe, the Pnei Menachem, zy”a, in Ludmir, Poland.
Of his illustrious family, Reb Yisroel was the only one to survive the Holocaust. Following the war, he married his wife, Rudele, a”h, (from the city of Elkish, Poland) in Europe; they immigrated to America, and raised an exemplary chassidishe family in Chicago. Their oldest daughter married Reb Moshe Betzalel Alter, a member of the Bnei Brak City Council. Their son Reb Volf, a prominent Gerrer Chassid and askan, was sent to learn and be mushpa from the Beis Yisroel, zy”a, in the early 1960’s – a time when it was quite rare for American bachurim to travel to Eretz Yisrael to learn. Their next son, Reb Moshe, followed him to Eretz Yisroel in the late 1960’s, and ultimately became a Maggid Shiur in Yeshivas Chiddushei Harim. Their youngest daughter married Reb Dov Goldblatt, an esteemed ben Torah living in Yerushalayim.
Reb Yisroel had a furniture-manufacturing plant, which, baruch Hashem, was quite successful. He generously shared of his bounty with those in need.
He was from the original participants and supporters of the first – and for a number of years, the only – daf yomi shiur in Chicago, given by the Besiminer Rav, zt”l. When a destitute mother with her young child came to Chicago in the early 1960’s, it was Reb Yisroel and his business partner who took her in to work in their factory and watched over her as if she was their only child. When a chassidishe Yid in Chicago became unemployed, Reb Yisroel immediately hired him and instantly made him the manager in the factory.
Upon the petirah of Mrs. Braun in Cheshvan of 5763, Reb Yisroel moved to Reb Moshe Betzalel Alter’s house in Bnei Brak, where he thrived as he spent his elder years among avreichei v’chasuvei Chassidei Gur, who so enjoyed and basked in the warmth and presence of a Chasidishe Yid from a previous generation. Throughout the years that he lived in Bnei Brak, the highlight of his day was his daily shiur and Mincha-Maariv in the famous “Moshe Yossel Shtiebel.”
Reb Yisroel enjoyed a very close relationship with the Gerrer Rebbes, and merited to host them in his house. The Gerrer Rebbe, shlita, attended his levayah, and the Rebbe’s son Rabbi Yisroel Menachem was maspid.
The levayah and kevurah on Har Menuchos took place the night of 5 Shvat, the same date that the Braun family, while in Chicago, would – on a nearly annual basis – host the yahrtzeit seudah of the Sfas Emes, zy”a.
Yehi zichro baruch.