Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

15 Adar 5762 - February 27, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Professor Avrohom Yitzchok (Alvin) HaKohen Radkowsky z'l
by S. Bruchi

Following a large levaya Professor Avrohom Yitzchok HaKohen Radkowsky z'l, who passed away at the age of 87, was buried in Bnei Brak last week.

Dr. Radkowsky was in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 5675 (1915). Since there were no Torah-based schools in his hometown he was taught by private instructors until he began his studies at Yeshivas Rabbenu Yitzchok Elchonon in New York City.

After World War II he completed his studies in physics, married Chanah Eisenberg and settled in Washington D.C., where he served as Chief Scientist of the U.S. Navy's nuclear reactor department. A group of observant scientists organized shiurei Torah, and on one occasion even hosted HaRav Kahaneman of Ponevezh when he came for an overnight visit to the city. Dr. Radkowsky was one of the prominent members of what was then known as the Summit Hill Congregation.

Dr. Radkowsky devised a brilliant innovation that extended the lifespan of nuclear reactors in the navy's fleet from several months to twelve years. His invention made an important contribution to naval operations and earned him a special award and a medal of honor from the U.S. government.

Despite his professional obligations he was a great masmid in his Torah studies. Many recalled seeing him absorbed in the pages of a gemora while waiting for conferences to begin. He completed all of Shas at least four times and in his latter years began studying the Yerushalmi. He was also very conversant with halocho lema'aseh and especially the Mishnah Berurah.

At the peak of his scientific career he decided to move to Eretz Yisroel in order to be able to perform bircas kohanim every day. For seventeen years he trekked to the Lederman shul every Shabbos and to daven with the Steipler zt'l, and after his petiroh with his son ylct"a HaRav Chaim Kanievsky.

He was also on close terms with many other Torah giants, including HaRav Moshe Feinstein zt'l, consulting them on every matter. When Dr. Radkowsky was sitting shiva for his mother a"h, HaRav Yaakov Kanievsky zt'l paid him a condolence call. Dr. Radkowsky was very upset, saying, "I'm not worthy for the Steipler to take the trouble to come console me in my home."

Dr. Radkowsky made significant contributions towards the expansion and renovation of Lederman Shul. He had the merit of bringing in a new sefer Torah written le'ilui nishmas the Steipler and funded the purchase of a special carpet from the netilas yodayim sink outside in to the duchan based on the Mishnah Berurah, which says it is not fitting for the kohanim to remove their shoes inside the beis knesses.

Dr. Radkowsky was noted for his exceptional middos. He was modest, amiable and constantly tried to help others, encouraging them in deed or with a warm expression. He knew how to speak with people of all ages simply and without affectation.

Recently his health began to decline and last week he returned his soul to his Maker. The levaya set out from his home in the Ramat Chen neighborhood, where moving hespeidim were delivered by his son-in-law, HaRav Binyomin Chukas, HaRav Y. Zilberstein and HaRav Moshe Ariel. At the cemetery he was eulogized by HaRav Y. Drori and HaRav Shlomoh Chukas.

He is survived by his wife, his daughter and son-in-law HaRav Binyomin Chukas, and grandchildren who are realizing his aspirations by following in his footsteps, leading lives of Torah and yirah.


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