לזכר נשמת הרה"ח השליח ר' לוי יצחק בן הרה"ח ר' זלמן יודא דייטש ע"ה

Please donate to the Levi fund. (Please specify that it is for the Levi fund )

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A nephew's memories

By: Shaya Bernstein

Hi, as Levi's oldest nephew, I wanted to share a few memories:

When I was about six years old, he was the head counselor of Lubavitch Day Camp, the camp I went to (my father was the director). One day I won a raffle. I went up to the stage to collect my prize. He started singing that I cannot get my prize until I make a Somersault across the stage in front of the camp. I was mortified, but did it anyway. Levi started screaming and clapping like only Levi could. Of course I walked away feeling good that your uncle cheers you on in front of the whole camp.

We went a few times during our summer vacations to Virginia to visit. Levi was so excited that we were coming, he went to Costco and stocked up on food for six weeks and enough pillows, blankets and towels for an army. The Deitsch's have a pool, and the Bernsteins loved using it! Levi would laugh at us that we would rather be swimming than going to Washington DC to see the sights! One time he convinced me to dive into the pool off of someone's head! The he came up from behind and pushed us both off the diving board. He laughed like only he could. We had so much fun with him!
He loved his Shlichus, and made sure to be the first one in Shul. We were really impressed- as yeshiva boys, who only get up when they are forced... this was impressive!

Hopefully he will inspire us to live Besimcha Uvetuv Leivav.

I wish Levi was here

By: Esther Kosofsky

When I think of my nephew Levi, I always remember one particular story that epitomized the reaction he had on people. The Deitsch family hosted a youth group leader for several years when he would bring his teens for a Shabbos in Crown Heights. The group would eat with one family on Friday night, somewhere else for lunch but the leader always brought the group back to the Deitsch home for Havdala. My family and I stayed at the Deitsch's house a few years during that same Shabbaton weekend and met the youth group leader and some of his students. One year, the leader arrived at the Deitsch home with around twenty teenagers before Havdala time and they milled around in the living room waiting until my brother-in-law a"h would return from shul. One by one, the three older Deitsch boys filtered in and when they noticed the group in the living room, smiled and retreated. My sister suggested that they go in and interact with the guests. They walked in and after saying hello, an uncomfortable silence settled in the room. After a moment or two, one turned to the other and said "I wish Levi was here".
At this time, Levi was several years younger than the guests, but that did not matter, he was the one who would have engaged the group and broken the awkward moment.
Levi, now we are also turning to each other with the same bakasha: "I wish Levi was here", not to break any uncomfortable silence or to put strangers at ease, but to enjoy your warm personality and shining demeanor, to see your obvious love for your famliy and for your shlichus, you will always be an inspiration.
I wish Levi was here.

Only one grew to be a giant

By: Leibish Heller

I just watched the video on Shmais couldn’t stop crying, levy last time I saw you was at Nosson’s Shiva you were there being Mechazek us, though we were class mates (from the original 22) we hadn’t really spoken for some years before then and one of the reasons for flying in was so that we can catch up an I remember thinking to myself this is was chasidim used to say: “Tzuman gegesen ober... we both ate from the same table but somehow only one grew to be a giant” seeing you after all those years you emerged so powerful so huge… Levi Teiere you always had such a good heart Daven for the class that the rest of us have the vision you had, I pray that having watched this video will make me a better parent son siblings Jew and Chasid.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The example of a true shliach

When the word Shliach comes to mind, there is no one that can better fit the description the Levi.
He treated every Jew with kindness and made them feel like they were the most important person in his life.
He himself was filled with life. Always happy no matter how sick he was.
He was welcoming. You never felt like you were a burden on him.
And one thing that the Rebbe stressed was to be Mesudar. I cannot think back to one time where Levi did not present himself in a neat and dignified way.
He was a true Chossid. Always inspiring others to do more.
It’s impossible to think about the future without you here physically helping and encouraging us. It is hard to move on. But we all know that the best way to keep your flame alive is by continuing to spread Yiddishkeit to others and strengthening ourselves one mitzvah at a time. Levi we miss you very much and we Daven every day for the coming of mashiach when we can once again be reunited with our dear Rabbi Levi.

By taking on one mitzvah at a time we are hastening the coming of mashiach, I will work on strengthening my ahavas yisroel-love for you fellow jew, in Levis merit and I encourage you to take on your own mitzvah.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Transcript of speech by Dr Donald Infeld at the Tanya Dedication after the Shiva period. Chabad House of Tysons VA

Transcript of speech by Dr Donald Infeld at the Tanya Dedication after the Shiva period. Chabad House of Tyson’s VA
Rabbi Levi Ob”m and I were best friends. Actually, to be very
honest, over the past two years, I came to love Levi Deitsch.
He was a remarkable man, capable of fighting a devastating
illness with the tenacity of a Lion, while at his core remaining
a gentle man with a heart of gold….the most accepting person I
have ever met.
Let me give you a bit of background so that you can appreciate
how we came to embark on a very special life journey together.
I am a physician and just before Rosh Hashanah two years ago, I
learned—admittedly thru federally prohibited stray talk in the
Doctor’s Lounge—that Rabbi Levi had lung cancer. Since this was
not public information, I was concerned about meeting with him
to discuss it. Nevertheless, I did, I called and made and
appointment and met with him at his small office at the Shul.
At the meeting, not unsurprisingly given who he was, Rabbi Levi
was completely disinterested in spending any time listening to
my nervously offered and weak apology of how I was acting on a
healthcare information leak. Instead, he listened intently as I
offered my services as a medical liaison—a guide, a scout, an
advocate—in short, a Shliach to help him navigate the complex
healthcare system we have in America and ensure he received the
best medical care possible.
Little did I know at the time, but Rabbi Levi was a 5-star
general preparing for what he knew would be a protracted and
difficult war against a tough and unrelenting enemy. Yet, to
his last breath, he was absolutely certain that he would beat
this illness and the prospect of having a medically
knowledgeable and connected aide-de-camp at his side was
extremely appealing. He embraced my offer and, indeed, he
embraced me.
And off we went together, the two Shluchim, on a medical and
spiritual journey that would profoundly affect both of our
Allow me for a brief few minutes to share a small part of what I
have seen and experienced on this journey. Some of my story
will reflect the on the amazing qualities of our dear departed
Rabbi—but my purpose as well this evening is to share a few
particularly meaningful experiences that shed light on the
incredible Lubavitch culture—their way-of-life and their values.
For in my medical Shliach role, I have for the past few years,
walked among the Lubavitch as an honored guest. I have been
allowed to pierce the outsider’s veil, to gain access and
observe and participate from within—and what I have seen and
experienced has been enriching beyond words.
With Rabbi Levi, I walked the streets of Crown Heights, I slept
in his Mother’s house, I davenned at 770, I layed Tefillin at
the Ohel (the grave of the Rebbe). At his side, I attended
Kinuses and the National Jewish Retreat; I danced at the
weddings of his Sister and Miriam’s Sister—and with him I sat
Shiva in Crown Heights for his Brother Nosson.
Through this all, I have witnessed, first hand, the majesty and
beauty of Yiddishkeit
And, perhaps most importantly, I have seen and experienced what
Ahavat Yisroel—the love of Jew for fellow Jew—indeed, the pure
love of one for another—really means. I have seen, up-close and
personal, a quality and depth of love that I did not know—or
believe—existed on this planet.
You need to appreciate the hundreds if not thousands of visitors
who came to Rabbi Levi’s bedside during his many
hospitalizations. On numerous occasions his ward at NIH looked
like the streets of Crown Heights on a Spring Sunday…with
Schluchim driving and flying in from all over the country,
indeed the world, to simply spend a few hours at Rabbi Levi’s
bedside. And they sat and they comforted him with a genuine
caring that is hard to convey. Between Miriam, his brothers and
other relatives and friends, our Rabbi never spent a night
alone in a hospital, often with as many as three people taking
shifts all night at his bedside.
All over the world, Schluchim and others were praying for Rabbi
Levi. There was a recent conference call with over 500 people
saying Tehillim in Rabbi Levi’s merit. At the national Jewish
Retreat a few months ago, Danny Cohen, the Shliach of Hevron sat
down to talk with us. As you may known, Hevron is the biblical
city which contains the Caves of Machpelah the resting place of
the tombs of the Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as well as
the Matriarchs: Sarah, Rebeccah and Leah.

And I’ll never forget that moment, as Danny looked at Levi with
radiant love and compassion and said in a Yiddish cadence:
“Levi you simply have to get better soon. You see every time we
have a minion at Machpelah we say a Refuah Schlamah for you…and
I think the Emahot and Avot are getting tired of hearing about
you.” A truly remarkable scene that played out repeatedly at
the second holiest site in Judaism.
I could go on for hours, telling you of the outpouring of love
and prayer for Rabbi Levi; yes he was special and touched many
because of his heart, his compassion and his outgoing
personality—but what was showered upon him is part and parcel of
the values inherent in the Lubavitch way of life. It is very,
very powerful stuff and it permeates the Chabad outreach
movement that brings us all here tonight. I can’t tell you how
many people, secular New York City Jews, who I met along the way
who visited Rabbi Levi during his illness because of how deeply
his Tefillin visits touched them during his Friday Mitzvot
rounds decades ago when Rabbi Levi was a young Yeshiva bocher.
I need to share with you the poignancy of the last Shabbos of
Rabbi Levi’s life—not to evoke tears but to share with you the
both the reverence for and the majesty of Shabbos that I have
witnessed. At dusk, Rabbi Levi lay in his bed on life support
in a medically induced coma. At bedside, his wife, his Mother,
two brothers, a sister and my wife and I welcomed in the Sabbath
Queen. To the rhythmic whooshes of the ventilator, Mendy
Deitsch made Kiddush and passed around wine and challah. In the
ICU waiting room, a white tablecloth was spread on the coffee
table and the Shabbos meal was eaten in shifts. The next day,
the Rabbi’s soul was returned to its maker mid-afternoon. At
darkness with a Shomer saying Tehillim in Levi’s room—Nechemia
Deitsch chanted Havdallah in the ICU at the Nursing station—and
then and only then were cell phones turned on and relatives
notified. Even a life event of this magnitude would not be seen
as justification to break the sanctity of Shabbos.
And so to all the non-Hassids in this room, I relate these
experiences so you may better appreciate the culture and values
of the Chabad Shluchim and how very blessed we are to have them
in our community. Simply put, by values and practice, they are
very special people truly doing Hashem’s work here on Earth—and
the fact that we in Tyson’s Corner have an open door to this
world of Jewish faith, spirituality and Yiddishkeit—a door that
is open in a totally accepting and non-judgmental way—is nothing
short of extraordinary. We must not take this for granted; we
must avail ourselves of Chabad@Tyson’s many offerings and we
must support it.
A propos of this, let me close by relating a wonderful
metaphorical story that Rabbi Bryski (of California) told at the
National Jewish Retreat in Reston a few months ago on Shabbos.
He said imagine that you are in an enormous Olympic-sized
stadium about to take the baton for your leg in an epic
relay race, the results of which can strongly influence the
history of our people. The stands are filled with countless
spectators from the 5000+ years of Jewish existence. You look
out over the faces and you look up and in the skyboxes you see
Abraham and Isaac and the Matriarchs; you see Moshe Rabenue and
the Ramban—and you see the Rebbe and the Bal ShemTov. And they
are all watching you to see how you will take the passing of the
baton from your ancestors and how you will run your leg. And as
Rabbi Bryski concluded, “so when you take that baton, I urge you
to run and run like you never ran before”.
And I would amend his parable as a challenge to all of us
sitting here tonight. Let us all in our mind’s eye see Rabbi
Levi—in his robust form of several years ago—as that last runner
handing us the baton—and let us pledge to take that baton here
in Tyson’s Corner “and run and run like we have never ran
Out of nothing, Rabbi Levi came here eight years ago and created
a vibrant Jewish Community, a veritable oasis of Jewish
learning, Jewish spirituality and Yiddishkeit. All of us have
been touched and transformed by him and the work of the Chabad
House here. So in his merit—and also for ourselves and for our
own Jewish spiritual journey—let us tonight take a solemn pledge
to support the Chabad at Tyson’s and see it flourish. I am
certain that next to the wellbeing of Miriam and his
children—looking down from above—nothing would be more important
and gratifying to our beloved Rabbi Levi Yitzhok ben Zalman Yuda

Monday, December 20, 2010

So full of life

By: Gittle Gopin

I knew Levi really only through my husband Moishe, who grew up with the Deitsch family. On the few occasions that Levi came to Melbourne since he married Miriam, Moishe always loved to catch up with him, as old friends do. When we were overseas last year, Moishe went to visit Levi in Virginia. He could not get over the amount of people coming through the doors in the few hours they spent together. And although Levi did not look the same, he sure was the same Levi that Moishe knew and loved.
Last year, my brother in law who is on Shlichus in Johns Hopkins University made a dinner for his community. Although unwell, Levi made the trip to Baltimore to be by the dinner, to support his friend and fellow Shliach. After the dinner, Levi called our house. He wanted to give Moishe Nachas from his younger brother, and proceeded to talk of how impressed and inspired he was by my brother in law's speech. As I spoke to Levi, I could not get over that with all that was going on in his own life, it was important to him to think of Moishe in Australia, to call him to give him Nachas. On a personal note, I was humbled at how Levi spoke so warmly to me, as if we knew each other personally. As we chatted, I could not get over how this sick man sounded so cheerful, so full of life, so happy. This was Levi.
After Pesach this year, I wrote an email to Mendy, Levi's brother, to tell him how we had spent Pesach with a bochur from his community, and how the Bochur had such wonderful things to say of Mendy. Literally as I pressed the send button, my American phone rang. The caller ID showed Levi Deitsch. I was shocked. When I picked up the phone, Levi in his ever so friendly voice told me he was sitting with his brother Mendy, and they were talking about Moishe, so they decided to call to say hello. We spoke for a bit and then he asked for Moishe's work number. When he got through to Moishe, Moishe was so touched. He put everything at work on hold, and spent some time Shmoozing with his dear friends.
Levi's passing has left Moishe and myself with broken hearts. We are aching for Miriam and the children, for Cyril, for all the Deitsch family. And we are aching for ourselves as we have lost a dear friend. I am honored to have known Levi, even the little bit that I did. And I am a better person because of him, for the Hachlotos that I took upon myself in his Zechus.
Miriam, I wish you strength to be able to cope with this, and may you be comforted from hearing of all the many people Levi touched. May you always have an abundance of Nachas from your children, and know of no more pain!
Warm regards,
Gittle Gopin

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dear Levi

By: Ariel Goldin

Dear Levi,
Tears are running freely down my cheeks as I remember all of the amazing times I had in your house throughout my year on Shluchos and all the visits after that. There are so many things to say that I’m having a hard time gathering my thoughts…
I remember first arriving in Virginia, first walking into your house and feeling immediately comfortable. In general, it usually takes me a while to warm up to new people but you and Miriam were so friendly and welcoming I felt instantly at home. Two days later I was telling my mother how I was comfortable enough already to walk into the house and open the fridge and her saying how you guys must be amazing people. I assured her that you were.
For the ten months that I was living in your home, I watched as you transformed so many people who came to the Chabad House. The change and growth that I witnessed was amazing and no one else could have pulled it off. Aside for weddings, Bar Mitzvah’s, and births, I saw more Yiddishkeit in the people of Tysons. I saw people observe more Torah and Mitzvos under your persuasion and influence.
Even after I moved to New York and would come visit for Shabbos or Yom Tov (happily welcomed every time no matter how you were feeling and regardless of the number of other guests you were having), I saw the community grow under your care. Each time I would return, I was amazed by what you had accomplished in the few weeks or months since my last visit.
I also watched your family grow through your love. I saw Miriam smile as she made Shabbos dinner for 30 people and how she would glow when you would thank her for it. I saw Zalman first rolling over, Mirel calling herself “tights” instead of “Deitsch”, Mendel making leaf piles, and Chaya learning to read while you patiently and devotedly helped them all. Then, I think of them now and how proud you must be!
At the end of my year of Shluchos, you and Miriam gave Chana Raizel and me each a chitas. You had our names written on them but I remember you handing it to us and specifically saying, “We didn’t put your last names on them!” Baruch Hashem, both of us have new last names a few years after leaving Tysons.
On the topic of name change, you passed away the Shabbos of my Sheva Brachos. I had called Miriam a few weeks before to find out if you were going to be able to come because I wanted you to say a bracha under my chuppah. Even though you couldn’t make it, I know how much you wanted to be there. I also know that you waited until after my wedding to leave so that I could be happy and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Levi, driving home from Midrasha shortly after you were diagnosed you told me that G-d willing, everything would be ok. I can’t even begin to imagine what was going through your head at this moment and here you were trying to reassure me.
Every Friday night at the Shabbos table you would go around and ask every person to say something that inspired them that week. This tradition always used to drive me crazy! And of course, you knew this and would always skip me unless I had something particular in mind.
The truth is, Levi, that you inspire me. You inspire me to pursue my goals and to think of others more. You inspire me to always think positive and to never give up. I hear you singing your favorite niggun and only hope that I can inspire people even a fraction of how much you’ve inspired everyone you’ve ever met.

I miss you, Levi! Moshiach Now!

Ariel Goldin

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Tribute to a Dear Friend

By: Sholom Schapiro

(From a weekly email sent to my mailing list last month)

This past Shabbat, I lost a very dear friend.

At the young age of thirty-four, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Deitsch, of blessed memory, passed away after a heart-wrenching three-year battle with lung cancer. Levi, as he was called, was a friend of mine from a very young age. We spent our yeshivah school years and summer camp together from elementary through Rabbinical college. We were partners in the Rebbe's work, visiting Jews in offices and businesses on Friday afternoons: as thirteen-year-olds we would put tefillin on people twice our size and share ideas about the weekly Torah portion as if we were world-class speakers! Later, we traveled together to Chabad Houses around the world, receiving hands-on experience as young Rabbis.

One of the greatest things we can do for someone who has passed away is to better our lives by learning from - and emulating - their special qualities.

From among Levi's countless good character traits and deeds, there are two qualities that stand out in my mind:

Levi was always happy, upbeat, and humorous, greeting everyone with a smile. He was full of life and his laughter was contagious. His positive attitude was directed to everyone, no matter what their religious standing, views, or life path. What always stuck out in my mind is not just that Levi greeted everyone with a smile, it's that he greeted everyone. We all have certain people with whom we'd rather not have to interact. Levi spoke to everyone equally for, in his world, there was no one undeserving of kindness and respect.

Levi's openness and straightforwardness was another of his special qualities. He could tell everyone what he thought and felt without having to worry that he might offend them. Because of his loving, non-judgmental attitude, people appreciated his honesty. If there was a yeshivah student who cut his beard, Levi would tell him in his witty way, "Ah, com' on, you shouldn't be touching your beard; you should have a full beard." He would prod me in his forthright and loving way: "Sholom, I think it's about time for your Chabad House to be open on Shabbat!" (Levi is one of our inspirations for starting Shabbat services, which we now have every week.) People were able to accept his advice without offense because they knew that it came from his tremendous capacity to care about them.

In this week's Torah portion, Yaakov prepares for a reunion with his brother Esav after many years of separation. Esav, the epitome of wickedness, hates his brother and approaches him ominously with 400 armed men. Nevertheless, when they actually meet, Esav embraces him.

Yaakov is known to be the middat ha'emet, the attribute of truth. When we project and express the truth, we can even approach a person with the veneer of Esav and turn him into a friend. By recognizing and revealing the inherent good that's in every person, we can reach even those seemingly far from Judaism, through their essence.

More than any other, I feel this quality personified Levi. He was able to touch so many with his honesty and genuineness; any criticism he offered was accepted as an expression of his warmth and care.

If we need another reason to cry out for Moshiach to come, let it be to bring an end to all suffering and pain, when all those who have passed away will be reunited with their loved ones; and Levi will be reunited with his beautiful family, his wife Miriam and four lovely children, Chaya, Mendel, Mirul and Zalmen. And they will continue to lead the community they built as emissaries of the Rebbe in Tysons Corner, VA.

A gigantic heart and neshomo

By: Shalom M Paltiel

I love you Levi and miss you. So much that has been said rings so true. He made everyone feel like they’re something special and unique. That may sound nice, but with Levi it is really true. What a gigantic neshomo and heart he had. For everyone who crosses his path, be it an irreligious Jew, a fellow chosid, or just a stranger… to be made to feel like they’re really special… that was what Levi would achieve. That's real ahavas yisroel!

Levi spent two or three yomim tovim at our chabad house as a bochur. Not a big deal in the scheme of his bochur years no doubt. Yet, he became engraved in the minds and hearts of our family from those short visits. It was shmini atzeres when he taught our then two year old daughter Mushka a cute childish song to the tune of I have a little driedle. It went like this:
"I have a little Sukkah with four walls and a door, it doesn’t have a ceiling, it doesn’t have a floor. The schach, will be the ceiling, the earth will be the floor, add some decorations. its ready now for sure". He sang it with joy and humor and a childlike lisp... Our Mushka was hysterically laughing and in love with him each time he sang it.

Fast forward ten year, eleven years. Our mushka was then twelve, thirteen years old. She still remembers Levi vividly and the song he sang. For many long months, she, along with thousands of others, said daily tehillim for his complete recovery, praying that he would continue to spend many more years with Miriam and his children and community. On erev sukkos 5770, days after yom kippur we were told Levi was unable to lead his congregation on that Yom Kippur and that things had taken a turn for the worse. Suddenly there's a phone message on the voicemail at our home, just hours before sukkos. It was Levi. He had nothing more important to do that day then to leave a message for our Mushka, singing the "I have a little sukkah" song... needless to say he had all of us in tears, including our now much grown up Mushka who just couldn’t believe it.

Another year passes. A difficult year for Levi and his family. I'm quite aware from visiting with Levi and talking to Miriam that things aren’t great and that he's gone back to VA because there wasn’t much they could do for him in NY. But there it was again, Erev Sukkos 5771 (!) a voice mail from Levi Deitsch, "I have a little sukkah..."

I love you Levi and miss you. But clearly you will continue to make an impact, as someone said so powerfully on the video – “his influence will continue…”

In a brief visit with Levi in Crown Heights last summer, when things were not so good... Levi was pounding me on why I don’t send enough kids to mayanot which is the way to bring them really close to yiddishkeit. This had been a discussion between us numerous times... but here he was again, the conversation wasn’t about him, his hardships, etc but about the work of Shlichus. Although, as usual he never spoke about himself, a few times in the conversation he exclaimed: “My wife, Miriam, she's my everything. she's my everything...” - Surely Levi will make sure to arrange that EVERYTHING should go well for his EVERYTHING here on earth begashmiyus and bruchniyus.

A week later, I am at the ohel and Levi is there with his Rebbitzin. Again, he is sitting with a mekurav, a yid who did not look frum, giving him chizuk and instructions. I was there davening for my little tzoros, and there I see this giant of a chosid totally and completely focused on another yid and on his shlichus... literally with his last kochos. That image will stay with me forever. It removed my excuses to complain and be grouchy for whatever happens in life... to me it was an image of a real chosid, much as one would see in generations bygone, but in the modern “dor-hashviei” model. A chosid. A jew permeated with emunah, bitachon, and ahavas yisroel.

Like everyone else, I have no idea why this happened. But it is clear to little me, that these amazing people who get hit this way - Levi, and his amazing wife and their children, and the entire Deitsch mishpocho who were hit so hard of late... all being the best of the best lubavitch has... and the questions are all begging to be asked, why why why... It is clear to me (these are just my own feelings but I’m sharing them for what it’s worth) that as the gmoro says vohavov ktzeis hashemesh bigvuroso, those who love Hashem will shine on that Great Day like the sun in full glory. The gomoro explains that this refers to hasmeichim byisurim rl... those who rejoice despite their afflictions. All of those aforementioned, those who were taken from this amazing family and all those who were affected so deeply, each and every day by these tragic loses... they are the real special ones. The ohavov, the ones who love Hashem. Hashem has in store for them such goodness (as the Rebbe writes that miyom holchi lecheder... from the day I went to cheder… he thought of the good that Moshiach would bring… it’s got to be so good as to make up somehow for all the tzaar hagolus… the pain of exile…) They will all get the real goodness on the big day. They are real chasidim and real jews and Hashem chose them. But they will be the ones to know true goodness.

May it be very soon.

With a heart overflowing with love and admiration for Levi and his family, I write this in the name of my entire mishpocho, my wife Sara - and of course our now 14 year old Mushka.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Passing tourist

By: Dan Abitbol
Montreal , Canada

Of all the people posting messages about Rabbi Levi (Z"L) I am probably the one who knew him least yet I remain compelled to say a few words about him.

I live in Montreal, Canada and was invited to play music at Mr. Michael Medina's (a prominent member of his Shul and close friend) wedding a couple of years ago and then was called back for another wedding the following summer so I've only spent to Shabbats at Tyson's Corner Chabad but in that short time, like many have already testified, a bond was immediately formed and it was as if we always knew each other. We spoke and joked like old friends and despite not seeing other for an extended period of time, picked up where we left off . Such Neshamas are really special and he leaves a tremendous void in his community that will not easily be filled . My best wishes of comfort to his wife and young children who are just as special as HE.
May Hashem send much needed comfort to the family and the Rebbe’s merit be with him and bless you all , Amen


By: Anonymous

A couple of year ago I was talking with Levi and I mentioned that I’m moving on Shlichus, I don’t recall asking him for a donation during the conversation…midway thru our talk he says B”H I’m doing well and I would like to donate one thousand dollars to help you start. Then he said, call my brother and tell that I gave you a thousand dollars and he we will do the same. That is exactly what happened, humbly and happily helping others! during this same conversation Levi was telling me that B”H he has the ability to help other Shluchim financially and he is very happy to help even though people are advising him not give “so much” Tzedaka, he said it’s the right thing to do and he is going to continue.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rabbi Levi!

He never asked "Why"?!

By: Mordechai Lightstone - Credit lubavitch.com

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Deitsch, Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to Tysons Corner, Virginia passed away Saturday, November 12. He was 34 years old.

Levi was the son of Rabbi Zalman Yuda, a prominent Lubavitcher chasid, Brooklyn community organizer and philanthropist, and Cyrel Deitsch.

Family and classmates knew Levi as a boisterous and personable child. Always looking to bring a smile to the faces of others, he would make a special effort to reach out to his less popular classmates. Childhood friend Nussie Sternberg recalls Levi’s “larger than life” personality as “different than anyone else” he’d ever met.

“Even if you’d met Levi only once,” Sternberg says, “he made you feel like he’s known you his entire life-- as if you were his best friend.”

Levi’s liveliness was tempered by a deep sense of responsibility to his community and his family. He especially cherished his father as an inspiring role model.

“He absolutely adored our father,” recalls his brother Rabbi Mendy Deitsch, Chabad-Lubavitch emissary to Chandler, AZ. “He wanted everyone else to see the dedication our father had to the Chasidic lifestyle and the message of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.”

Levi would often regale friends with stories of his father’s use of his business as a means to encourage Jewish identity and observance. A business meeting, Levi would remind others, would not start until after his father had offered potential partners a chance to don Tefillin. After his father’s untimely passing in 2006, Levi would continue to draw inspiration from his legacy.

Levi’s own commitment to utilizing every opportunity for the purpose of connecting with other Jews was legendary. Every week he would join his yeshivah colleagues in the practice of visiting Jewish businessmen in their places of work, encouraging them to don Tefillin and perform other mitzvot. His weekly rounds in Manhattan’s business district would build relationships that would continue for the remainder of his brief life.

In 2002, a year after Levi married Miriam Loebenstein, the couple moved to Tysons Corner, VA to serve as Chabad emissaries to the community. Far from a traditional Jewish community, Levi’s brought warmth and liveliness to his work and the people who would quickly come to love him.
Michael Medina, originally from Montreal, met the Deitschs a year after they arrived in Tysons corner and soon became a frequent Shabbat guest in their home.

“I called him my brother,” Medina recalls. “It wasn’t a typical rabbi-congregant relationship. Levi was always open, never condescending.” Medina is quick to add that the special bond he shared with Levi was one that many in the community experienced as well.

When he was diagnosed with the disease that would eventually take his life, Levi tried to conceal his sickness from the community out of fear that eople would shy away from synagogue services. Only after he was forced to miss Yom Kippur services for medical treatment did the community learn of their rabbi’s condition.

Despite an unpromising prognosis, Levi remained optimistic and dedicated to his work.
“He never asked ‘Why?’” Mendel Deitsch recalls. “What bothered him most was not his own physical suffering, but rather how it distracted him from reaching out to others.”

Despite his deteriorating health and other tragedies - Levi’s younger brother Nosson was killed in a boating accident this past May - Levi embraced life with positive energy, hoping for a cure that would allow him to go on living and sharing his love for giving.

Sternberg recalls visiting Levi last Chanukah after a particularly difficult round of treatment. The Deitschs would run Chanukah Wonderland, an interactive Chanukah experience with a functioning olive press. The event was important to Levi, and though unable to run Chanukah Wonderland, he insisted on manning the call-center. A physically draining experience, he was left exhausted after each call. Yet somehow, Sternberg notes, “he would pick up the phone each time with a renewed vigor.”
Levi’s optimism challenged his doctors to search aggressively for new treatments and ways of beating the illness.

His physician and friend, Dr. Donald S. Infeld recalls Levi as “a remarkable man: capable of fighting a devastating illness with the tenacity of a lion… To his last breath, he was absolutely certain that he would beat this illness.”

Infeld notes that Levi has left a legacy in Tysons Corner where he “created a vibrant Jewish community, a veritable oasis of Jewish learning, Jewish spirituality and Yiddishkeit. It is now our job to take the baton he passed to us and run with it.”A series of programs and initiatives have already been established in Levi's memory. Among them, a new study hall for local businessmen has been established down the block from Levi's childhood home the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. As well, this Sunday, December 12, a memorial service and tribute to Levi's life and legacy will be held in the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia.

Levi is survived by his wife Miriam, his children Chaya, Mendel, Mirel and Zalman, as well as his mother Cyrel, and siblings, among them Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries across the globe.

A friend that cared for others

By: Anonymous

It's truly very hard to write but I want to share lessons that I learned from my dear Chaver and classmate, Levi.

Three years ago I was in the process of purchasing a Chabad house and had to come up with a larger sum of money, after trying local avenues I realized that I must find out of town ways, so naturally I called Levi, that one phone call I will never forget, firstly he was ready to give me a Gmach for a very large sum of money even if he would need to get a loan from someone else and then he suggested that I go to a friend of ours whom I wasn't in touch with for a few years. However Levi naturally was one of the only one who kept in close contact with this friend who then supported Levi as well. When I was a bit hesitant to go to one of his supporters, Levi pushed me by saying: now YOU need the money, I will worry about myself when I need it... Not only that, he then guided me through exactly how to go ahead. I will always be grateful for this, as it had helped me a lot till this very day.

Levi was truly a friend that cared for others no matter of age or background and would always put himself aside when it came to helping someone. I was always amazed to see so many young youngerlight that were close Mushpaim of Levi. I will always remember how it was just a few weeks after I got married sitting by my parents for a shabbas meal when Levi and Miriam made a point to come by to visit. It is the small things where people would think a hundred times before doing but Levi knew that if it would make someone feel good, there was nothing to think about, rather just do it.

And Lastly, it was an Erev Yom tov this past Pesach when I drove out to visit Levi, spending some time with him and knowing his Matsav I was shocked to see the Koach and Bitochon that he had, something that has surly made a huge impact on myself. Then when I arrived back home Ncheyeh told me that levi called minutes before yom tov to make sure that I arrived on time, again the friend that cared.

It is very difficult to write, but I only hope and daven that Hashem should give koiach to his wife and kinderlach and the entire Mishpacha to continue Levi's life and we should be zoche to Vhekitsu Vranenu... Levi Bsochom

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Levi was truly special, larger than life.

By: Esther Leuchter

What wonderful excitement filled our lives when you and Levi got engaged, Miriam! We were all thrilled and overjoyed that you were marrying such a fine young man from such an amazing family! What a beautiful wedding it was, one we will never forget, with all the family together. I still remember Levi singing at the wedding with such tremendous power in his voice. What passion and zest for life he had!

Before you made the final decision to go on shlichus to Tysons Corner, VA, I couldn’t believe that my beautiful Australian niece was moving not far from where I was from in Maryland. Levi asked me my opinion of the move, and I was strongly encouraging. When I came for my first visit, I realized that Tysons was a very commercial area and wondered how you were going to “grow” a community there. As the months unfolded, doors seemed to open for you two, and success just flowed. From an apartment you soon found just the perfect home for running a Chabad House, shul, and guest house. Someone even renovated it and furnished it for you, for nearly nothing. People started to come, supporters, programs and events, Shabbos meals galore with many guests from all walks of life.

Chabad of Tysons was here to stay! You expanded to a bigger shul nearby. You had your first weddings and babies in your own community. All while your own family, bli ayin hora, was growing so beautifully. Miriam, you and Levi were so dynamic, so giving and full of life. You were a shining example in every aspect of your life together of what a Chassidishe family represents. Needless to say, I had the highest respect for you both and the work you were doing. Our family was very proud of you and always will be.

I used to visit my Mother who lived at The Hebrew Home in Rockville every year, sometimes twice a year. You welcomed me so graciously for Shabbos on these trips. My visits with you were always a highlight. Smiling and relaxed, the house spotless, the aromas from the kitchen enticing, and the children already in bed when I would arrive erev Shabbos, you made everything look so effortless. Levi would be preparing his laining, his talk for Shabbos day, his divrei Torah for Friday night. He was so knowledgeable and sincere in his Yiddishkeit. With a smile and amusing word, he would challenge me to do more and be better. His honesty was refreshing. His concern for others was genuine. Whatever the occasion called for, he was fully there emotionally and intellectually.

What moved me most of all, Miriam, was the tremendous kindness you and Levi showed my dear Mother, o.b.m., over the years when she was living at the nursing home. You developed your own relationship with her, bringing the children to visit her after school, and inviting her, wheelchair-bound, to your events, and for Shabbos and Yom Tov meals at the Chabad House. I know she and Levi used to talk deeply about Hashem, about her finding meaning in her suffering (she had MS), about her love of Yiddishkeit, about life in general. She always spoke enthusiastically about her visits with you. I want to express my deep gratitude to you and Levi for your kindness to her and for all the effort you expended to make her feel important and cared for.

My dearest Miriam, Levi was truly special, larger than life, gifted with a profound humanity, integrity, and strength of character. He absolutely adored you, too, and told me many times how lucky he was to have married you. You complemented each other so well, and your love, devotion, and absolute respect for one another was palpable. You were both so mature for being so young.

May Hashem give you and the children and all the family comfort and blessing at this very difficult time. May Levi’s loving presence sustain and support you. And, may Levi’s passion and zest for life give you courage and strength to continue on.

Love always,
Your Favorite Sydney Aunt.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Always looking out for others

By: His Chaver Yonah Vilenkin

The shock of Levis passing is still seeping in. "Es Chatoai Ani Mazkir" and I confess that I did not keep in touch in the last few years as much as I should have. I am not one of these big writers but I know how important it is to share some memories with family and friends.

Levi and I were friends since preschool. In last year of our yeshiva studies I had the Zechus to learn Smicha with Levi. Originally I had plans to learn in 770 and Levi approached me and asked if I would consider learning with him. He said that he is going back for a 2nd year of Shlichus to Migdal Haemek and wanted me to join him. My first reaction was that I had no interest to go to Israel since I had already completed my year of Shlichus in Miami and wanted to focus on smicha. Levi of course did not take no for an answer he persisted and suggested that the Yeshiva will pay for my ticket and everything will be taken care of and that me and him will learn smicha together. It did not take much and he convince me to join him.

While in Migdal Haemek I got to learn allot more than I thought I knew about Levi than before. Especially since we shared the same room. When we arrived he obviously gave me a grand tour of the yeshiva and introduced me (the newcomer) to the Hanhalah and to the bochurim and made a small farbrengen. From when we arrived Levi made sure that I would be comfortable and that anything I would need would be looked after. Whether it was taking me to the kitchen in the backroom for special meal arrangements or take me to local friends house in one way or the other I always felt that Levi was there looking out for me. This was the true character of Levi, always looking out for others. Not only did I experience that with Levi but I witnessed that on a day to day basis with how he would interact and lookout for bochurim in Yeshiva.

I remember during "yemai depagra" how the bochurim would love to sit at farbrengen and make sure to sit close to Levi and farbreng with him. Almost every single bochur in yeshiva had a connection with Levi and Levi always found a way to connect with the most chassidishe bochur and the ones that were not as chassidish. What amazed me was how Levi would encourage bochurim to do what's right. I remember him talking to a bochur about something very personal, but in a very friendly and nice way, in a way that only Levi can say and would be accepted by others.

The caring and warmth was not limited to his friends. Levi was very friendly with the "Hanhalah Gashmies" of the Yeshiva. I remember him helping them approach donors and help them raise funds for the yeshiva. Everyone loved Levi, he was full of life and loved life. Levi will always be in my heart as someone who truly cared for others especially for friends. We miss you!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A special person

By: Anonymous

Although I was not privileged to get to know Levi as well as others did, I did learn a tremendous amount from him.
Levi was a role model, in everything he did. His love for Torah and Judaism was contagious. He didn't let anything seem like a burden, rather everything was done with a joy and excitement. He wasn't the only one to feel that joy, everyone around him felt it too.
His love for every Jew was remarkable. Whenever you went to see him, his face would be filled with a smile and he would ask about you and how everything was going. About himself, that was never the main subject.
Levi, though you are no longer with us physically, you light shines forever. You continue to be of inspiration to us and we hope that we continue to make you smile up there heaven.
See you very soon in Yerushalayim.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My favorite Bochur

By: Moishy Goldman

Dear Deitsch Family,

I can't begin to imagine how Levi's family, his wife and children must feel now. We have no idea. The only thing I can say is that I wish them koichos...and I wish them Levi, back by Techias Hameisim together with Nosson and his father R' Zalman A"H. I can speak for myself, and this hurts. A lot.

Levi was my counselor for two summers in Gan Yisroel Montreal, 5753-54. We were kids then and barely realized it, but those were trying times in Lubavitch, to say the least, especially the summer immediately after Gimmel Tammuz. Yet Levi and his co-counselor and very good friend, Chaim Greisman, gave us more than memorable summers. Levi became my big brother in every sense of the word.

I grew up as the oldest in my family, and the oldest grandchild on my mother's side. As such, I did not have a whole lot of older bochurim with whom I came into contact with on a regular basis, and did not have any role models to look up to, in that sense. Perhaps Levi sensed this; I don't know. But I do know that pretty much from the beginning, he cared for me and I could go to him with any problem I had.

One of the clearest memories I have of Levi's concern for me is him taking me outside the bunk for a late night chat. The purpose? Convincing me to stay in camp for the second month, as I had originally planned on being in camp only for one month. I still remember his very convincing argument: "What are you going to do in the country? You'll ride your bike a little bit, swim in the pool a little bit, and then what? Here you have your friends, a great bunk, we're having an awesome summer, stay with us!". I did and was very happy I did. Maybe I'm being naive, but couldn't Levi have simply said to himself "the kid wants to go home, zol er fohren gezunterheit"?. But he knew that I would be better off in Gan Yisroel, and he cared enough to make the effort to get me to stay.

From that early stage, I admired Levi immensely for his warmth, his chayus, his chevreman'keit - it was just great to be around him. He would tease us so lovingly and playfully, we would beg for more. He toughened us up, helped us grow out of being little boys and prepared us to be chassidishe bochurim ourselves.

Another remarkable thing that Levi did for me was that throughout the following year (I don't recall if it was 5754 or 5755) he invited me to come to Oholei Torah on Troy Avenue, and during his supper break he would learn a Sicha with me in one of the classrooms, and force me to take notes so that I could chazzer it over at the Shabbos table. I don't remember how long it went on for, but I remember feeling so special and so loved that I was chosen to have this exclusive time with Levi, my favorite bochur.

I am sure that there were many other incidents that took place during those years, but the reality is that what Levi gave me was more than something that can be measured by the retelling of specific incidents. I thought about this for a long time during my years in Yeshiva, and I truly believe that Levi was the person I modeled my own life after, and that whether consciously or subconsciously, Levi set the tone for me that m'darf zich uffiren vi a chossid. I say this despite the fact that during the years that followed, I never really was in close contact on a consistent basis with Levi again, simply because we each were in different parts of the world, at different stages of life. My heart was always connected to Levi.

I give Levi credit for the fact that I am on Shlichus today. I really believe that if I hadn't had the great mazel and zechus of being in his care during those formative years of my life, I would have turned out very differently.

I really can't believe that he is gone...this hurts. A lot.

May the Aibishter have rachmonus on his family, on his wife and children, and bring Moshiach so that he will be reunited with them and with us all.

PS IYH the next time I am in NY I will try dig up some pictures of the old times in CGI.