PIttsburgh
PIttsburgh iStock

Rabbi Mordecai Leib Glatstein, longtime Pittsburgh spiritual leader, has died at the age of 106.

Glatstein, who was an influential religious presence for Pittsburgh’s Jewish community for seven decades, was born a rabbinic dynasty in Lipno, Poland in 1916. Described as a Talmudic child prodigy – the “Genius of Plotzk” – he also experienced the death of his father from the Spanish flu when he was a child.

During the Holocaust, he witnessed the Nazi destruction of Warsaw, the construction of the ghetto and then the burning down of the city.

Glatstein survived seven slave labor camps, and was eventually liberated from Dachau concentration camp in 1945 by Allied forces, said his son, Yossi Glatstein, in an interview with the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle.

After serving as a deputy director for the Joint Distribution Committee, and acting in a rabbinical capacity for survivors, as well as serving as a chaplain for the American military and cataloguing Jewish possessions stolen by the Nazis, Glatstein immigrated to the US, settling in Pittsburgh in 1949.

There he was the rabbi for the Charles Morris Center of the Jewish Association on Aging, which was known originally as the Jewish Home and Hospital for the Aged. He was also Pennsylvania’s main chaplain, visiting hospital patients.

In 1993, Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff declared March 28, Rabbi Mordecai and Cyna Glatstein Day, for their contribution to the lives of the city’s citizens and the Jewish community.

Glatstein was buried next to his wife on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives on the fourth day of Passover.