The Jews of New York -- A WLIW production premiering  January 23rd  on New York Public Television
Hasidic Rabbi Haskel Besser

Rabbi Haskel Besser represents a slice of New York history little understood by most Jews, let alone most New Yorkers. In the 1940s and early `50s more than 50,000 Hasidim immigrated to New York from Poland and Hungary, where their once vibrant communities had been wiped out by the Holocaust. Rabbi Besser escaped from Poland in 1939, after a harrowing encounter where a group of soldiers threatened to throw him from a moving train. His aunts, uncles, cousins and grandfather were killed in concentration camps. In his adopted city, Rabbi Besser has amassed an impressive array of achievements: not only has he succeeded in the commercial real estate world and the diamond district, but he has presided for 40 years over a small synagogue on the Upper West Side and he invented the miniature talmuds often read by devout Jews on New York subways. This extremely engaging character, who has met with world leaders and addressed crowds of thousands at Madison Square Garden, tells his life story with wisdom and wit.

20 Responses to “Hasidic Rabbi Haskel Besser”

  1. Rochelle Kimmel says:

    We saw the program and enjoyed it very much. We would like to buy the DVD but can not find it on your website. Please tell me how I can purchase this and also the program on Yiddish that also aired on 27 January (I believe it was A World of Yiddish). Thank you. Rochelle

  2. Maile says:

    awesome show

  3. Joan Harris says:

    I would like to say hello to Rabbi Besser. I worked with him twenty years ago with Ronald Lauder. He was a wonderful friend and I wanted to say hello.

  4. barbara raugh says:

    I recently read the book, “The Rabbi of 84th Street,” and was deeply moved by this story of one man’s precious life and his gift or helping others. I want to learn more about him.

  5. barbara raugh says:

    I would dearly love to meet this man, who is so inspirational and seems to be so in touch with people.

  6. Sandie Swartz says:

    I would like to know how to purchase the DVD as I don’t see any notice as to how to order one. Thank you.

  7. Michael Dwyer says:

    Thank you for sharing this priceless footage with us. Rabbi Besser is truly a treasure.

  8. Shalom Kolin says:

    my name is shalom kolin, i live at Efrat (gush etzyon) in israel.
    the name of my garnd mother was Sara Konesense.
    her family name before she maried my grand fother was Haskel.
    my grand fother was Aharon-Yosef Konsense. they lived at DZIALOSZYN before the 2nd war.
    in the 2nd war, they lived in getto LODZ. they was killed in aushvitz.
    i look for any one that can be my family.
    pleas, give me answer even you are not my family.
    shalom kolin

  9. barbara raugh says:

    I am so pleased to tell you that I recently read another book about a Holocaust survivor entitled, “They Called me Frau Anna,” by Chana Marcus Banet. I am inspired to pray more frequently for the Jewish people, especially the young people in Israel, now that I have read it. I recommend this book to everyone.

  10. Suzanne Utts says:

    I read the book about Rabbi Besser and it greatly blessed me! I am not Jewish but I loved the book!

  11. Daniel Tredinnick says:

    Hi, how are you?

    I live in Aberdeen, Scotland, UK a part of the world that doesn’t have a very big Jewish community. I have a quick question: would/do (hacidic) jews find the attachment of Gin and Jews amusing? Or not? I believe its a reference to a Snoop Dog song. More to the point is it offensive? is there a part of Judaisim that bans alcohol or wouldn’t see the funny side?



  12. ludwig kolin says:

    dear mr kolin we can be family

  13. ludwig kolin says:

    please ansered we can be family

  14. james ainoris says:

    Found this very interesting. I never realized how comprehensive the gemara (talmud) is covering every aspect of life…. one could spend the rest of his life studying such. The church in europe made great efforts to destroy the Talmud. In fact King Louis of france burned all the copies he could gather. BaRuch HaShem he did not succeed.

  15. james ainoris says:

    One of the most amazing facts that I discovered is that the entire Talmud some 2300pgs was kept in the memory of Rabbis and handed to the next generation for 1600 years! It was not written down until the time of Rabbi Akkiva when the evil Romans were killing and burning everything Jewish the Rabbi s of that time decided to write it down and hide copies all over the world.

  16. james ainoris says:

    One good source to learn from as well as Rabbi Besser is a free phone site 718 953 6100 as well as Rabbi Weins destiny foundation. I have also learned alot from The Rebbe wants all Jews regardless of background to learn and become more religious. We live in a country where you can be proud of your yiddishkeit!

  17. tricia johnson says:

    please find me a rebbe that can help me. i’m jewish and i need him to heal me. it’;s urgent. thanks, tricia johnson

  18. Edward Besser 2nd says:

    To shalom, my quest is same wish you the best of luck

  19. tableau contemporain pas cher says:

    hi, that’s a good airman. There is several mistakes but the principal is here.

  20. Shalom says:

    I am 16 years old and I have an important question.
    I would wish to get in contact with a rebbe..
    I don’t know if its possible.

    But If I want to ask a question I will try to ask it, that is much better than to have a question and not to ask.

    Greetings from the netherlands

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Rabbi Haskel Besser and Pre-War Germany
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