Pesach Ackerman, East Village Rabbi, 84


Rabbi Pesach Ackerman, the spiritual leader for the last four decades of one of the last remaining synagogues in the East Village, died June 14 in Beth Israel Hospital of pneumonia. He was 84.

At Anshe Meseritz synagogue on E. Sixth Street, one of four surviving congregations in the neighborhood where there were about 100 a century ago, including full synagogue and storefront shtieblach, Rabbi Ackerman helped recruit worshippers for daily prayer services and shepherded a development deal that will keep the deteriorating, landmark synagogue in its building while the upper floors are converted into residential condominiums.

A native of Manhattan, he earlier served as a pulpit rabbi in Daytona Beach, Fla., before returning here.

“Rabbi Ackerman’s passing is more than just the loss of a link to the immigrant days of the [nearby] Lower East Side,” said attorney Joshua Heiliczer, who attended the Anshe Meseritz minyans for several years before moving three years ago to Hong Kong. “It is the loss to the link who fought to maintain Judaism there through the rough times of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s,” as the area’s population declined. “Rabbi Ackerman stayed when others left.”

The rabbi’s wife, Helen, died in 1983.

Rabbi Ackerman is survived by two daughters, Shelley and Sharon, two sons, Sandford and Mark, and two nephews,