Moses I. Feuerstein, 1916-2009

by | in People

Moses I. Feuerstein (“Moe”) left an incredible legacy to the American Orthodox Jewish community.

Moe’s leadership skills were evident even when he was a young student at Yeshiva University (YU). A visionary and a doer par excellence, he founded and served as the first editor of the Commentator, the official newspaper of Yeshiva College. After his graduation from?YU?in 1936, Moe attended Harvard Business School. His education served him well when he began working with his father, Samuel, and his brother, Aaron, at Malden Mills. Moe, a lifelong Bostonian, was a leader of the Brookline,
Massachusetts Jewish community, and was active in the Young Israel
of Brookline.

The first American-born OU president, Moe served in this role from 1954 to 1966, infusing new energy and purpose into the Union by advancing several causes that the OU is identified with today, including kashrut certification, youth work (NCSY), political action and synagogue services. Moe was also chairman of the Executive Committee of Torah Umesorah, the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools, where he worked for more than three decades to make the day school movement a vibrant force on the American Jewish scene. Amazingly, he held both of these prestigious positions before his fortieth birthday.

At a time when the day school movement was in its infancy and American Orthodoxy was fragile and insecure, Moe worked to fortify and invigorate the American Orthodox world.

Prominent in the business world yet deeply devoted to Torah and mitzvot, Moe served as a role model for his generation, teaching young Orthodox Jews that one need not sacrifice commitment to Torah to be successful in the secular world. Bridging many worlds, Moe was also able to maintain relationships with gedolim across the Orthodox spectrum. He was extremely close to Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik while at the same time had a strong relationship with Rabbi Aharon Kotler and Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky.

Moe is survived by his siblings; his wife of sixty-five years, Shirley; and numerous children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

This article was featured in Jewish Action Summer 2009.

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