Paysach J. Krohn (born January 29, 1945) is an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, mohel, author, and lecturer on topics related to ethics and spiritual growth. He is the author of the bestselling "Maggid" series of books for ArtScroll, inspired by the stories of Rabbi Sholom Schwadron, who was known as the "Maggid of Jerusalem". He also authored a seminal work on brit milah (religious circumcision), also published by ArtScroll.
Krohn was born in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. His father, Rabbi Avrohom Zelig Krohn, was a mohel (ritual circumcisor), of whom there were many in Brooklyn. He decided to build a practice in Queens and found a job in a hospital there. He moved his family to Kew Gardens when Paysach was seven years old. Paysach was one of the leaders of the Kew Gardens Pirchei boys choir.
Relationship with Sholom Schwadron
Krohn is well known as the author of a series of "Maggid" books inspired by the stories of Rabbi Sholom Schwadron, who was known as the "Maggid of Jerusalem" for the inspirational mussar talks he gave every Friday night from 1952 to 1992 to the public at the Zikhron Moshe shtiebel in Jerusalem. Krohn met Schwadron when his father invited Schwadron to stay with them during one of his frequent fund-raising trips to America in late 1964, although Schwadron didn't know him or his family personally. Schwadron insisted on paying rent, which Krohn agreed to reluctantly. During the five months that Schwadron resided with the Krohns, a close bond formed between him and the family. When Schwadron announced that he was leaving after Passover 1965 to travel back to Israel by boat, the entire family saw him off at the pier. Then Krohn's father handed Schwadron an envelope containing all the "rent money" he had paid, as he had never intended to keep it. A few days later, Krohn's father said he missed his guest so much that he decided to greet him when his boat docked in Israel. He and his wife quickly arranged passports and flew to Israel two days before Schwadron arrived. After giving the Schwadron family time for a reunion, the Krohns appeared with their own welcome.
Avrohom Zelig Krohn was diagnosed with a terminal illness after this event, and died the following year. Six months after that, the family received a letter from Schwadron saying that he was coming to America again. Schwadron became a surrogate father to Krohn's seven orphans. He showed great sensitivity towards Krohn's widow, remembering his own mother's struggles to raise her orphaned children.
With Schwadron's encouragement and active input, Paysach Krohn penned the first of his popular "Maggid" books, The Maggid Speaks, published in 1987. Schwadron died before the publication of the second book in the series, The Maggid Speaks II. Subsequent titles (Along the Maggid's Journey, In the Footsteps of the Maggid, Echoes of the Maggid, Reflections of the Maggid etc.) memorialized Schwadron's influence on the overall project. As of 2012, Krohn has published eight books in the series.
Krohn is a fifth-generation mohel. At age 21, he was the youngest mohel ever certified by the Brith Milah Board of New York. He has performed thousands of religious circumcisions. His ceremonies have been described as "exceptionally spiritual and inspirational".
Krohn is a lecturer, sharing stories in the manner of a maggid and also collecting stories for his speeches and books. He also leads Jewish historical tours throughout Europe, speaking about the rich and vibrant Jewish communities that existed prior to World War II. He documented the first of these trips in his 2007 book, Traveling with the Maggid.
In December 2004 Krohn launched the organization PaL (Phone and Learn) in the United Kingdom. A division of Partners in Torah in the U.S., PaL matches up Jews who want to learn more about their heritage with a friendly, knowledgeable tutor for up to an hour a week of Jewish study and discussion over the phone.
- Bris Milah. Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 1985. ISBN 9780899061986.
- The Maggid Speaks: Favorite Stories and Parables of Rabbi Sholom Schwadron, Shlita, Maggid of Jerusalem. Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 1987. ISBN 089906230X.
- Around the Maggid's Table: More Classic Stories and Parables from the Great Teachers of Israel. Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 1989. ISBN 0899065627.
- Yad Eliezer (5th ed.). Self-published. June 1996 [1st ed. December 1990].
- In the Footsteps of the Maggid: Inspirational Stories and Parables about Eminent People of Yesterday and Today. Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 1992. ISBN 0899065961.
- Along the Maggid's Journey: A Collection of All New Inspirational Stories and Parables from Around the World and Across the Generations. Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 1995. ISBN 0899063233.
- Echoes of the Maggid: Heartwarming Stories and Parables of Wisdom and Inspiration. Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 1999. ISBN 1578192617.
- Reflections of the Maggid: inspirational stories from around the globe and around the corner. Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 2002. ISBN 1578197511.
- Traveling With the Maggid: A journey to great Torah centers of yesteryear. Mesorah Publications Ltd. 2007. ISBN 142260229X.
- In the Spirit of the Maggid: Inspirational Stories that Touch the Heart and Stir the Spirit. Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 2008. ISBN 1422608727.
- Perspectives of the Maggid: Insights and Inspiration from the lectures of Rabbi Paysach Krohn. Mesorah Publications, Ltd. 2012. ISBN 1422611841.
Interview with Rabbi Paysach Krohn by Chazaq's Rabbi Yaniv Meirov: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6AxmVEpVkM
- Margolin, Dovid (12 July 2012). "Many Shuls, One Community: The remarkable story of the Jewish community of Kew Gardens". Hamodia Magazine. pp. 11–15.
- Lazewnik, Libby (2000). Voice of Truth: The life and eloquence of Rabbi Sholom Schwadron, the unforgettable Maggid of Jerusalem. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Mesorah Publications, Ltd. p. 395. ISBN 9781578195008.
- Krohn, Rabbi Paysach J. (1987). The Maggid Speaks: Favorite stories and parables of Rabbi Sholom Schwardron shlita, Maggid of Jerusalem. Mesorah Publications, Ltd. pp. 26–29. ISBN 0-89906-230-X.
- Krohn, The Maggid Speaks, pp. 29–30.
- Krohn, The Maggid Speaks, pp. 30–31.
- Donn, Yochonon. "The Maggid of Jerusalem: 10 Years Since His Passing". Hamodia, 13 December 2007, pp. C6-C7.
- Krohn, The Maggid Speaks, p. 14.
- Singer, Cathy (4 March 1994). "Circumcision Specialist Carries On The Ancient Jewish Ritual". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- "Article on Mohels in New York". New York. 42: 236. 2009.
- "In the Spirit of the Maggid". The Jewish Press. 21 January 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
- Krohn, Miriam. "It's Snow Coincidence". Binah, February 23, 2015, p. 105.