Rabbi Aaron Felder, a leader in the local Orthodox community and the rabbi of congregation B’nai Israel-Ohev Zedek in Northeast Philadelphia, has passed away.
Rabbi Aaron Felder, a nationally recognized Orthodox scholar on points of Jewish law who led B’nai Israel-Ohev Zedek in the Northeast for decades, died May 3 at age 70.
One of his leading roles in the community was as founder of the Orthodox Vaad of Philadelphia, which determined the kashrut status of food items and restaurants. He later joined Rabbi Dov Brisman in a merger to form
Community Kashrus of Greater Philadelphia, considered to be the foremost service of its kind in the region.
The New York native, who also spent time growing up in Toronto, was hailed for his writings on halachic rulings, Rishumel Aaron, a multitome work.
A close friend of his, Rabbi Solomon Isaacson, lamented the loss of a great man of wisdom and knowledge.
“No. 1, he was a scholar,” said Isaacson. “Thousands from all parts of the country came to him for decisions in Jewish law.”
“He reached out to everyone, not just the Orthodox,” added Isaacson. “He had a terrific personality and loved to tell jokes; he was a man of the world.”
Isaacson noted that even in the last few years, when his eyesight started to disappear, “he was not depressed and was able to study to the very end.”
Felder famously served for a time as top aide to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, the internationally acclaimed interpreter of halachah who died in 1986.
Brisman recalled a colleague of great disposition. “We worked together for over 20 years. Did we always agree? No, but we disagreed politely, and found a way to work things out,” he noted.
“And we did so with never a loud word between us.”
Rabbi Felder is survived by his wife, Ruth; six daughters, Elisheva Rosenhahn, Nechema Kohn, Hadassah Sperling, Sari Bernstein, Chani Engel and Brochi Siff; a son, Rabbi Yissochor Dov; and two brothers Rabbi Yossi and Rabbi Yacov.
His body was flown to Israel this week for burial in Eretz Hahachim cemetery in Beit Shemesh.