Ephraim Oshry, a rabbi whose family was exterminated during the Holocaust, died on Sept. 28. Cause of death was not released. He was 89.
Oshry was a rabbinical scholar in Lithuania when the Nazis invaded in 1941. During the occupation, he held secret worship services for Jews and guarded a warehouse filled with books for a future exhibit of “artifacts of the extinct Jewish race.”
After the war ended, Oshry used the knowledge he obtained from the exhibit to publish several volumes of religious analysis in which he interpreted Jewish law to answer questions of survival. For example, Oshry determined that even to save his own life, a Jew could not buy a Christian baptism certificate or commit suicide. Two of these volumes won National Jewish Book Awards.
Oshry also set up schools for religious instruction in Rome and Montreal. In 1952, he became rabbi at Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, one of the oldest synagogues in New York City.