Rabbi Zalman Kossowsky

Mar 18, 2014

Rabbi Dr. Zalman Kossowsky was born in Teheran, Iran in 1940, descended from a long line of Rabbis and teachers. His parents were on their way from Vilna to South Africa, where his late father, Rabbi Dr. Michael Kossowsky z”l, was to accept a Rabbinic position alongside his late grandfather, R. Isaac Kossowsky (brother-in-law of R. Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky) z”l, who was then already the Av Bet Din in Johannesburg.

Rabbi Kossowsky grew up in Johannesburg. After his matriculation in 1956, he went to Israel where he studied in Yeshivat Kfar Chassidim and then Yeshivot Mir and Chevron, culminating with Semicha in 1961 by the Rosh Yeshiva, the Rav of Meah Shearim, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, R. Reuven Katz, R. Shlomo Josef Zevin and R. Moshe Feinstein zichronam livracha.

In 1962 Dr. Kossowsky moved to the United States, where he attended Ner Israel and the Graduate School of Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland, from which he earned a M. Ed. In 1971 he was awarded a Ph. D. by the School of Communication Arts at the University of Denver.

In 1972 he accepted a call from the Young Israel of Greater Miami in North Miami Beach, Florida to become their Rav. In the same year he was also awarded a Direct Presidential Appointment to the United States Naval Reserve as a Chaplain. He retired from the Naval Reserve program in 1985 with the rank of Lieutenant-Commander.

In 1974 he returned to Denver, Colorado to accept the responsibility of developing Colorado Kosher Meats, a cooperative Kosher food scheme. He remained the director of the scheme till 1978, when he responded to a call by the Sydenham-Highlands North Hebrew Congregation, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In June 1986, Dr. Kossowsky was invited by the then Chief Rabbi, Lord Jakobovit z “l, to visit the UK, at which time at time a call was extended to him by the Kenton Synagogue in London. He was also invited to become a member of the Chief Rabbi’s ‘cabinet’ with the responsibility for Soviet and Arab Jewish Affairs.

In 1991, the Israelitische Cultusgemeinde Zürich invited him to become its Gemeinderabbiner upon the retirement of Oberrabbiner Mordechai Piron. The European Conference of Rabbis also elected him to its Executive Standing Committee. He was appointed Emeritus Av Bet Din and Gemeinderabbiner of the I.C.Z. in 2007

Dr. Kossowsky has always been interested in the use of technology by religious institutions in order to increase their effectiveness. Since 1975 he has been involved in the development of appropriate computer applications for the Synagogue. He has also been involved in the development of Human Resource programs in the U. S. Navy.

On the academic side, he has lectured at the University of Colorado, the University of Denver and Colorado College in both the fields of Communication and Religion. Rabbi Kossowsky is also the author of a number of books on Jewish subjects. He is also the author of a Prayer Book for the House of Mourning as well as a Siddur for Leyl Shabbat and Yom Tov.

He returned to the USA in 2007 and lives in Boynton Beach, FL where he is active in the Anshei Chesed Congregation as well as the Anshei Emuna Congregation in Delray Beach, FL.

He is married to Danna (nee Oppenheim) and has seven children, five sons and 2 daughters.