Rabbi Yosef Lasdun, a renowned sofer, baal midos, and talmid chacham in Washington Heights, passed away on Wednesday morning, May 30, at age 62. His loss was felt not just in K’hal Adath Jeshurun, where he was a lifelong member, but in all the suburban and Manhattan communities whose safrus needs he took care of.
Rabbi Yosef Lasdun was born in Washington Heights in 1956. His father, Rav Toviyo Lasdun, z”l, was a talmid chacham from Telshe, Lithuania, and a sefarim expert at Yeshiva University’s Mendel Gottesman Library. R. Yosef attended Yeshiva Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch in Washington Heights through 12th grade. He then learned in Telshe Yeshiva in Cleveland for five years.
R’ Yosef returned to Washington Heights to study in KAJ’s beis medrash and then kollel. During this time he joined the Vaad Mishmeres Stam safrus training program in Monsey and received a ksav safrus from Rav Ben Tzion Wosner, the program’s director.
R’ Yosef helped fill the safrus needs of his neighborhood mosdos and for decades was also “the” sofer for shuls on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and in Teaneck, Bergenfield, Fair Lawn, Mt. Vernon, New Rochelle, and other locations.
Mr. David Hes from Congregation Beth Aaron related, “Aside from being an especially skilled sofer, Rabbi Lasdun was exemplary in his impeccable honesty, humility and yashrus. He made a huge kiddush Hashem during the decades he handled our safrus needs and was a role model for us all.”
Rabbi Avraham Gordimer, a KAJ member, said, “When I brought my sons to Rabbi Lasdun to order tefillin, he took out charts with images of letters and taught them the basics of writing and inspecting tefillin and other relevant halachos. He never pressured people to order more costly tefillin or mezuzos. Rabbi Lasdun was a tremendous masmid, learning in the Breuer’s beis medrash and in the KAJ shul at every opportunity, yet was extremely humble about his Torah knowledge. Rabbi Lasdun was loved by everyone across the Orthodox spectrum, from the most left-wing/liberal to the most right-wing/traditional.”
Rabbi Avrohom Hoffman told The Jewish Press, “Though I’ve been part of the Lasdun family for 40 years, there are many things about my brother-in-law that I only found out since his petirah, especially in terms of his humility, yashrus, and ehrlichkeit.”
R’ Yosef was sick for the past several years, while still basically functioning. On Wednesday morning, May 30, an extremely weak Rabbi Lasdun asked that tefillin be put on him, then recited Birchas Hashachar and Krias Shema. Shortly afterwards, Rabbi Lasdun returned his neshamah to his creator. It was 9:30 a.m.
Five hours later, Rabbi Lasdun’s levaya was held in front of KAJ on Bennett Ave. Hespedim were delivered by Rav Yisroel Mantel (mara d’asra of KAJ), Rav Avrohom Ausband (rosh Yeshivas Telshe Alumni of Riverdale) and Mr. Moshe Lasdun (a son). Rabbi Lasdun was buried in the KAJ section of King Solomon Cemetery in Clifton, NJ, near his father.
Rabbi Yosef Lasdun is survived by his wife of over 35 years, Mrs. Brendle Lasdun; his mother, Mrs. Margot Lasdun (Washington Heights); siblings, Mrs. Rochel Tannenbaum (Dallas), Mrs. Miriam Hoffman, Dr. Avi Lasdun, and Rabbi Ezra Lasdun (all of Washington Heights); children, Mr. Menachem Lasdun (Baltimore), Mr. Yaakov Mordechai Lasdun, Mrs. Yocheved Haller, Mr. Maier Lasdun, Mr. Moshe Lasdun (all of Lakewood), and Mr. Chaim Boruch Lasdun (Washington Heights); and many grandchildren.