Why My Uncle Died

Oct. 9, 2020

The riots and violence in Brooklyn ultra-orthodox Jewish neighborhoods over pandemic regulations have been watched closely around the world. The CJR has received the following submission from the heart of Brooklyn.


My uncle, Moshe Teitelbaum, Z”L, just passed away after suffering from COVID.

Teitelbaum’s Family History

My uncle was the most decent, caring person you have ever met. He was my father’s older brother, but unlike my father, he kept more of a private life. He excelled at every subject. He loved all the sciences. He was a computer programmer by profession. He was a brilliant writer, and it’s because of him that we have the stories of my family history, in a three-volume book that he left for us.

Yet despite his academic genius, he was the most humble person you ever met. He was a talmid chacham, never missing a day learning with his chavrusa, and spent his vacation time learning in Lakewood’s Yarchei Kalla. He was a partner with my father in creating Torah Communication Network, but his name is nowhere to be found. He was more honest than honesty itself. He was a walking kiddush Hashem, and like a true Teitelbaum, he did what he thought was right no matter what anybody said. The last time I met him in person was on Purim as we delivered Mishloach Manos to his house in Boro Park. Feels like an eternity.

But let’s get something clear…

He didn’t die because of antisemitism. Or because New York Governor Andrew Coumo is inept or because New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is a hypocrite.

He didn’t die in an unfortunate accident.

He didn’t die because we were left in the dark. We were informed, we were warned, multiple times.

He didn’t die because of other complications – he was a healthy old man.

He died because many of our rabonim, leaders and askonim are too afraid or lazy to do their damn jobs.

He died because Boro Park, N.Y., where I grew up, is now run by the mob and not by rabbis.

He died because he had so much respect for daas torah that he believed them while they downplayed the seriousness of the virus.

He died because we were completely negligent.

He died because it was more important to say tehilim for Donald Trump than it was to care for the health of our elders.

He died because “the virus doesn’t kill 99 percent” and he was part of the one percent.

He died because “everyone already had it” when he clearly didn’t have it.

He died because “everyone has antibodies” and “it’s fake news” and “nobody can take our freedoms away.”

He died because our shuls and simcha halls were acting irresponsibly.

He died because we were just too lazy to put on a simple mask to protect one another.

He died because we are a stubborn people, but sometimes we are stubborn for the wrong reasons.

He died because G-d decided it was his time. Baruch Dayan HaEmes

Feel free to share if it helps spread awareness. May this suffering come to an end quickly.

Dovid Teitelbaum of Brooklyn, N.Y. is the son of Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum, Z”L, founder of Camp Sdei Chemed International and Torah Communications, among many other accomplishments; and grandson of Harav Avraham Yaakov Teitelbaum, ZT”L, Rav in Kew Gardens, Queens, and manhig ruchani of Camp Agudah for many years.