Reb Eli Chaim Carlebach ZT”L was born in Berlin in 1925 to Rabbi Naphtali and Rebbetzin Pessia Carlebach, both descendants of distinguished rabbinical families. In 1939, the family fled the persecutions of the Holocaust, coming to America as refugees.
Reb Eli Chaim’s father, Rabbi Naphtali Carlebach, assumed leadership of Congregation Kehilath Jacob—The Carlebach Shul—in 1945. Eli Chaim and his brother, Shlomo, attended the Yeshiva Torah Vodaat. Both young men developed a deep connection to the Chassidic way of life. During their yeshiva years Eli Chaim and Shlomo became close with the Lubavitcher Rebbe – The Frierdiker Rebbe whom they had visited in Vienna before the war. Rabbi Eli Chaim, in fact, received smicha from the Lubavitcher Yeshiva in Brooklyn.
Reb Eli Chaim worked tirelessly, researching and publishing Chassidic writings. Through his work he was able to preserve a rich legacy which was nearly lost during the devastations of the Holocaust. He established a foundation called Zecher Naftoli which published more than forty classical works of Chassidic teachings. This foundation also provided employment, improving the economic situation of numerous families in Israel and in the United States.
Reb Eli Chaim was renowned for his gentleness, kindness, and warm love for people, as well as for his piety and immense knowledge of Torah and Chassidic Lore. His love for our Shul and chevra knew no bounds. Our respect and love for him will be everlasting.