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Yehuda Chitrik was born in 1899 in Krasnaluk, a small Jewish shtetl in Russia, to a prominent Lubavitch family that traces its roots to the foremost Chassidim of the Alter Rebbe. At the age of 14, he began studying in Yeshiva Tomchei Temimim in the village of Lubavitch, where he met the fifth Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneersohn. For the next 12 years, he traveled to many different communities together with the Yeshiva, for the difficulties caused by World War I, the Bolshevik revolution, and the economic pressures to which the Jews were subjected compelled the Yeshiva to move frequently.
In 1926 Chitrik married Kayla Tomarkin, the daughter of Rabbi Aharon Tomarkin, a Rabbi in Kharkov, Ukraine, and began to serve as a Shochet until the Russian government forcefully shut down the ritual slaughterhouses. During this period he also met Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who later became the seventh Lubavitcher rebbe.
In the turmoil that followed World War II and the Holocaust, Rabbi Chitrik and his family moved to Belgium with the intention of continuing to the United States. But the sixth Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn recognized his skills and asked him to remain in Belgium to support the community and spread Yiddishkeit and Chassidic warmth among the many refugees who had settled in that country.
Rabbi Chitrik was the eldest living Chabad Chassid for many years. He has four children and eighteen grandchildren, and is survived by over 300 descendants in total.
Many of his descendants serve as spiritual leaders and rabbis across the globe. Amongst them is his son-in-law Rabbi David Moshe Lieberman, who serves as the chief rabbi of Antwerp, Belgium. Other descendants serve in China, Turkey, Germany, Australia, Israel, Canada, Uruguay, Brazil, Ukraine, England and cities across the United States: Bedford, NY; Philadelphia, PA, New York City, NY; Munster, IN; Oak Park, MI.
- Reshimot Devorim, four volumes.
- From My Father's Shabbos Table, A Treasury of Chabad Chassidic Stories