Rabbi Yekutiel Rapp, a long-time educator, and one of the most spirited activists to the safety and security of Israel, was killed in a fatal car accident on Monday, 12 Tammuz 5775.
He was 66.
He was standing with his wife on Empire Boulevard, near his home on Balfour Place in Crown Heights, when a livery cab driver drove into Rabbi Rapp. He was rushed to the Kings County Hospital Center in East Flatbush but passed away on the way from cardiac arrest.
He was born on 9 Av 5708 (1948) to Shraga and Tzippora Rapp in the religious moshav Yesodot in central Israel. In his youth, he learned in the known litvish Yeshiva Kol Torah in Jerusalem.
It was there where he discovered Chassidus through the classes in Tanya given by Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Segal, Rosh Kollel Tzemach Tzedek. Rabbi Rapp then enrolled in the Central Tomchei Tmimim Yeshiva in Kfar Chabad to study under the famed mashpia Rabbi Shlomo Chaim Kesselman.
When he finally came to New York and saw the Rebbe, he quickly got involved in Mivtzoim outreach activities to bring Jews closer to their faith.
His main outpost was the JFK International Airport where he developed a close connection with the team of Israel’s national airlines El Al. His work there was later conducted under the official names Chabad at JFK.
His love for Eretz Yisroel and the safety of its people –best demonstrated by the Rebbe– had Rabbi Rapp bring Israeli government officials to 770 Eastern Parkway and later create an organization to fight Israel’s concessions to Arab countries.
His daily occupation was Mashgiach at the Central Tomchei Tmimim Yeshiva at 770, a task to which he was hired already as a bochur by the Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Mordechai Mentlik and Director Rabbi Dovid Raskin.
At the Yeshiva, he helped educate generations of bochurim alongside the current hanhala Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Zalman Labkowski, Head Mashpia Rabbi Yoel Kahn, Mashpia Rabbi Shlomo Zarchi and others.
Most recently, Rabbi Rapp was working on a book titled Tikvas Menachem that was going to offer unique commentary on the connection between the daily study portion of Rambam and the weekly Parsha in the Torah. He said it was being done at the instruction of the Rebbe.
He is survived by his wife Fayge Rapp and children Chaya Mushka Moskowitz, Chanie, Yossi, and Shneur Zalman.
The Levaya will take place today, Tuesday, 1:00pm at Shomrei Hadas and passing by 770 at around 1:45pm.
Baruch dayan haemes.
PHOTOS BY ABB-JDN: