Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan Dead at 48

February 2, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Funeral services were held at the Shomeri Hadas chapel in Brooklyn Sunday for Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, scholar and author of numerous books on Jewish thought and philosophy on basic practice and observance, who died suddenly of a massive heart attack last Friday at the age of 48. He was buried Monday on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

In the course of a writing career which spanned only 10 years, Kaplan became well known among teenagers and adults for such books as “Water of Eden: The Mystery of the Mikva,” “Shabbat, Day of Eternity,” and “God, Man of Tefillin.” He was also editor of “Jewish Life,” the magazine of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.

As an activist in the Orthodox Union’s National Conference of Synagogue Youth, Kaplan was a firm believer in acquainting unaffiliated and alienated Jewish teenagers with their heritage. He was a prime force behind the teshuvah movement — the return of Jewish observance. “Throughout history, Jews have always been observant,” he said in a recent interview.” The teshuvah movement is just a normalization. The Jewish people are sort of getting their act together. We’re just doing what we’re supposed to do.”

Born in The Bronx, New York, he received his rabbinical training from Mirrer Yeshiva in Jerusalem. His most recent book, “The Living Torah,” is a contemporary English translation of the five books of Moses with maps, notes, illustrations and an annotated bibliography, all compiled by the author in the short period of nine months.

Recommended from JTA