Skip to main content Skip to search

YU News

YU News

William B. Helmreich, Of Blessed Memory

Masmid 1967

William B. Helmreich, eminent sociologist, and a 1967 graduate of Yeshiva University, has died, a victim of the Covid-19 virus. A noted scholar of Jewish life in America, his book Against All Odds: Holocaust Survivors and the Successful Lives They Made in America utilized information from the National Council of Jewish Women Records, a collection held by the Yeshiva University Archives.

He generously donated transcripts of the interviews he conducted in the late 1970s with leading “roshe yeshiva,” heads of well-known yeshivas in the United States, to the Yeshiva University Library. These luminaries include, among others, Rav Moshe Feinstein of Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem and a renowned posek (decisor of Jewish law), and Rav Shneur Kotler of the Lakewood Yeshiva. The interviews, some of which were conducted in Yiddish, discuss topics such as Jewish education, the rabbinate, attending secular colleges, and the post-World War II rise of traditional yeshivas in America. These interviews provided background and perspective for his book, The World of the Yeshiva: An Intimate Portrait of Orthodox Jewry.

Helmreich taught sociology in Stern College in the late 1970s; this photo is from the 1978 Kochaviah yearbook:

Kochaviah 1978

May his memory be for a blessing.

יהי זכרו ברוך

Posted by Shulamith Z. Berger