Jack Yohay

Jack passed away just hours after the start of Rosh Hashanah on September 24, 2014, a week shy of his 77th birthday.

More photos of Jack


Thanks so much for your kindness and for all of your efforts to preserve the memory of my dear older brother. It's heartening to see how much at home Jack was in the Kobe community, and how loved and appreciated he was. I hated that he was so far away and that none of the family was able to be at the funeral. I now have the sense that he was buried in a beautiful place and that he was and is well honored.

Jack was the oldest of five children.  My sister Diane is next, then me, then David, and then Paul.   My three remaining siblings live in the New York area.   Jack was in touch with all of us and I'm sorry that he didn't mention us to you.  We saw him often, the last time was in 2012 when he came to the east coast twice in one month for two family simchas,  a bat mitzvah and a wedding.

One Jack's favorite readings ended with "when all that's left of me is love, give me away."  And so I send my love to you and the community at the Kobe Jewish Center, knowing that we share the bond of having enjoyed Jack's presence among us, having learned from him, enjoyed him, and loved him.

Best wishes to you all,

Linda Yohay Denning
Naples, Fl.


On behalf of the Jewish Community of Japan I would like to express my condolences at the passing of Jack Yohay. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Jewish Community of Kobe at this difficult time.

Sincerely yours,

Philip Rosenfeld
Jewish Community of Japan


So sorry to hear the sad news of Jack Yohai passing .
I new him quite well when I resided in Kobe( 1968- ~2000) with my family and serving for many years
as president of the KJC. I remember him coming to Kobe and immediately becoming active
in the community.  A very polite and cooperative person.
My condolences to the family and all the community,
גמר חתימה טובה
Gad Ichaki
גדי יצחקי


Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of our friend Jack Yohay.  His presence made a huge impact not only on me but on all visitors to the Ohel Shelomoh Kobe shul as was mentioned by David Moche in his letter, he worked tirelessly for the Kobe shul along with our friend Leslie Brezak, a blessed memory.  Jack never forgot to remind me of Leslie's yahrzeit and make sure that the community remembered.  I remember Leslie Brezak Sensei each year and think of Jack Yohay Sensei at the same time.  I am sure I will also remember Jack's yahrzeit in the same way.  The were both long term pillars of the Kobe, Japan Jewish community for many many years.  This was of special importance because most of our community was/is transient including the Rabbi and his family and only a precious few members made the decision to build their life and remain in Japan.

I fondly remember sitting around the Shabbos table with Jack before meals, at meals and after meals as we all shared d'var ha Torah and stories about our past.  I remember him sharing a very exciting story about his world travels as a young man and in more recent years his trip to Eastern Europe back to his roots.  I know he was happy to be able to go on this journey while he still had his health.

I was in Japan for seven years and I spent four of those years close to the Jewish Community in Kobe, sleeping by the shul each Shabbos.  Jack was always there.  He was a consistent and regular shul goer and he wrote thought provoking weekly updates for the community on the parsha as well as connecting people at the shul and those who attended the shul, but I am sure he did much much more than that behind the scenes! 

Jack, you were part of my Kobe Synagogue Jewish family and you will be sorely missed.  Once again please give my condolences to his loved ones, and the community at large.  I wish that I was able to be there with you today climb up the mountain and lay him to rest.  It's a beautiful cemetery and I am sure he will have a special place of honor for generations to visit in the future.

Warm regards,

Wendy (Shirah Rachel) Partnoy 


I just want to say that Jack helped me a great deal with the weekly newsletter that I wrote during the time I was secretary at Ohel Shelomo - It truly is a great loss and I want to express my deepest sympathies and condolences.


Andy Rolnick


I am very sorry to hear the sad news of the passing of Jack Yohay. As recently as two weeks ago we were communicating regarding the High Holyday accommodations for visitors from the US to Ohel Shelomoh. 

Jack was a good friend and over the years a wonderful counterparty to work with. He worked tirelessly to make sure all the visitors to Kobe would somehow have a pleasant experience of the country, the city and the Jewish community. 

He was pushed into a role not particularly comfortable for him, and became a good partner with Leslie Brezak in conducting the community business during various crises, including the Kobe earthquake. 

He diligently kept international friends of the community aware of its activities with his weekly newsletters. As his health worsened he worried about how to maintain that contact with all the people who cared about the Jewish Community of Kansai. 

Recently he was not around the synagogue to personally greet the guests for whom he provided information and made arrangements. 

Jack entertained us with his writing and with his unique ability to keep the various constituencies happy. 

Having worked with him since the incorporation of Friends of the Jewish Community of Kansai I will miss him very much. 

I do not know any of his family in the New York area and do not know any details of the Shivah. If anyone on this email distribution would be so kind as to provide me that information I will make every effort to share it. 

Wishing you and all your family
שנה טובה ומבורכת filled with blessings of peace, happiness, success and good health. May your sorrows be short-lived and may G-d answer all your most heartfelt prayers. כתיבה וחתימה טובה ותזכו לשנים רבות טובות ונעימות 

All the best,
S. David Moche


My thoughts about Jack Yohay are very warm. He became President of the Community after the passing of Bruce Benson, and I was VP at the time. Jack was a warm person, tried to stay away from quarrels, and helped preserve the status quo in the community. Jack was well known for his desire to help, and he  helped every guest in whatever way he could. He was well-read and his knowledge of Japanese and general literature were legendary. He was also my co-moderator in the yahoo group of the Community, KobeJewishCenter@yahoogroups.com and he helped me a lot when the group was more active. But more than that he was a dear friend and I am very sorry for his loss. My wife and I would also like to express our condolences to his family and to the Kansai Jewish Community for losing a pillar of the Community.
Rafi Manory