View our most recent obituaries for our Rochester and Victor locations.
Born June 19, 1947 in Brooklyn, New York, he is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Nechie Kilimnick, a sister, Joyce Moss of Boca Raton, Florida, children, Dr. Yosef (Dr. Suzanne) Kilimnick, Shiffy (Laurie) Kilimnick of Teaneck, New Jersey, Tzipora (Avi) Hornstein of Chashmonaim, Israel, David Kilimnick of Jerusalem, Israel and Rabbi Avi (Esti) Kilimnick and eighteen grandchildren. It is said in Ethics of the Fathers, “Make yourself a teacher; acquire a friend; and judge every person favorably.” Rabbi Shaya Kilimnick was the true embodiment of those words, having been known the world over as a beloved, charismatic, educated and warm rabbi. Having received his Rabbinical Ordination from Ner Israel Rabbinical College and having studied closely under Rabbi Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg, the Rosh Hayeshivah, Rabbi Kilimnick was a friend to thousands of people. When any of his congregants toured parts of the world, invariably someone would ask them where they were from. When the response was, “Rochester, New York,” the individual would invariably ask, “Oh, do you know my friend, Rabbi Kilimnick?” Rabbi Kilimnick was responsible for educating innumerable people on the importance of the State of Israel, and was proud that many young people who learned with him, made Aliyah and became his “ambassadors.” As a young rabbi, first in Little Rock Arkansas, he transformed the Jewish community in that Southern region. More than a half-century later, people still recall him and all he did, nationally serving for more than two decades at the B’nai Brith Youth Organization as its Orthodox Rabbi at KALLAH and ILTC camp in Starlite, Pennsylvania and later as a key advisor for the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY). He was also been a member of the Rabbinic Cabinets of the UJA, the Rabbinic Cabinet of Israel Bonds, where he had been a national chairman, and was a Vice President of the Rabbinic Council of America and served as a member until recently there and with the Orthodox Union (OU), as well. He was a leading fund raiser for Israel Bonds, regularly outpacing larger Jewish communities with donations to that cause. He had been a guest at the White House for State Dinners, including those which have hosted the Israeli Prime Minister. Thousands of adults today credit him for helping them maintain and enhance their Jewish identity. He and his wife took countless students (adults and children) on trips to Israel so they could see first-hand their roots and history. In 1977, he made Rochester, New York, his home and for nearly 43 years, was the pulpit rabbi at Congregation Beth Sholom and survived nearly three dozen presidents and their boards. He loved every one of them. He led the Rochester Board of Rabbis, oversaw Kashrut at the Jewish Home, Lipmans Kosher Meat Market and other area Kosher establishments, was a board member on nearly every local Jewish agency and a frequent customer wherever kosher food was sold. Honoring the stories of Holocaust survivors was a particular passion. Rabbi Kilimnick championed the development of CHAI (the Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information) of the Rochester Jewish Federation and valued his sacred relationships with every survivor he met and came to call his friend. His relationships crossed all parts of Judaism, from the uninvolved to Reform and Conservative Jews, always welcoming and learning with everyone. He also strove to develop relations from outside Judaism, by meeting with and engaging priests, ministers, Imams, and other faith leaders. He was a regular invitee to the national conference in Washington, DC for Christians United for Israel, and partnered with the local Rochester Chapter at Bethel Christian Fellowship. His cherubic smile and incredible sense of humor (he could do a near perfect impersonation of Jackie Mason) were two of his hallmarks. He was beloved by many – Rochester’s Rabbi, but a rabbi to all. Funeral services were held last Thursday night, August 6, 2020 at Congregation Beth Sholom and burial was the following morning in Queens, New York. Donations in Rabbi Kilimnick’s memory may be made to Congregation Beth Sholom, 1161 Monroe Avenue, Rochester, New York, 14620. Shiva hours at the home of the Kilimnick’s 43 Varinna Drive are as follows. Saturday night from 9:45pm-10:45pm Sunday-Wednesday 9am-9:30pm All those that visit are asked to wear a mask and be considerate of how many people are visiting. We will try to have no more than 5 visitors at once. Chairs will be wiped down between visitors. Shiva concludes Thursday morning. ZOOM shiva hours and links Sunday-Wednesday, August 9-12 10:30am-12pm. There is a waiting room. Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85815068582 Meeting ID: 858 1506 8582 One tap mobile +16465588656,,85815068582# US (New York) +13017158592,,85815068582# US (Germantown) 4pm-6pm Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83234077625 Meeting ID: 832 3407 7625 One tap mobile +16465588656,,83234077625# US (New York) +13126266799,,83234077625# US (Chicago) ________________________________________________________________________________________ The Funeral for our dear leader, Rabbi Shaya Kilimnick ZT’L, will take place at 8:00pm, tonight, Thursday, August 6, in the Main Sanctuary at Congregation Beth Sholom. Due to continued concerns of COVID-19, the maximum number of attendees allowed will be 85 people total. Please note, seating in the Main Sanctuary will be limited to designated seats, marked with blue tape. There will also be standing room available in the Garden Room for 30 people with appropriate social distancing. If you are present, please be diligent to follow the proper guidelines of keeping your distance, wearing a face mask, and not conversing. If experiencing any symptoms (i.e. cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat), please stay home and view the funeral through ZOOM. If you arrive and space has already been filled, please know that Rabbi Kilimnick ZT’L and his entire family understand your love and connection to our dear Rabbi, please return to your car or home and view the funeral through ZOOM. The ZOOM for tonight will begin at 8:00pm Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83234077625 Meeting ID: 832 3407 7625 One tap mobile +16465588656,,83234077625# US (New York) +13126266799,,83234077625# US (Chicago) At 10:30am tomorrow morning there will be a ZOOM link to be part of the Kivura/ Burial of our dear Rabbi Kilimnick ZT’L The Burial will take place at Montefiore Cemetery,121-83 Springfield Boulevard, Springfield Gardens- Queens, NY 11413. Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85815068582 Meeting ID: 858 1506 8582 One tap mobile +16465588656,,85815068582# US (New York) +13017158592,,85815068582# US (Germantown)