Nov 21, 2011
Professor Velvel Greene, 83, OBM

Professor Velvel Greene, one of the most known Baal Teshuvas of Chabad in this generation who had great influence on many during his lifetime, passed away.

By COLlive reporter

Professor Velvel Greene, acclaimed professor and scientist, passed away Monday, 24 Cheshvan - November 21, 2011 at the age of 83.

Greene was retired as professor emeritus from both the University of Minnesota and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

As a Professor at the University of Minnesota in the 1960s, Greene was acclaimed as a pioneer in his field of bacteriology. He was invited by NASA to join a select team of scientists studying the possible effects of space travel on human life.

Prof. Greene traveled internationally to speak on the topic of science and religion.

Professor Greene became close to Chabad nearly 50 years ago when he met Minneapolis Shliach Rabbi Moshe Feller.

Greene was an original participant in NASAs Exobiology program searching for life on Mars. The Rebbe used to ask him for regular reports on his scientific research:

3 years ago, at a party celebrating Greene's 80th birthday, Be'er Sheva Shliach Rabbi Zalman Gorelik asked him to disclose to the public the collection of letters and correspondence he had received from the Rebbe over the span of many years, since they contained valuable lessons for Chassidim.

Greene agreed, and over the last year these letters had been printed in the Kfar Chabad magazine.

In recent months Greene was in the final stages of a book of these letters, and only last week he had sent the final letters and the book's introduction to the editor.

This morning, Prof. Greene was headed to a lecture when he suddenly did not feel well. He was admitted to the hospital where he passed away shortly afterwards.

He is survived by his wife, Gail, sons Rabbi Shmuel Greene and Rabbi Dovid Greene of Minnesota, and daughters Rachel Black, Penina Seidel and Nechama Kahana.

The funeral will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, in Beer Sheva, Israel.

The Greene family is sitting Shiva until Monday morning at
51/1 Mivtza Nachshon, Beer Sheva, Israel
Phone number 011 972 86418992

Baruch Dayan Haemes.

Most Read Most Comments
Prof. Greene and his wife Gail get a dollar from the Rebbe
Prof. Greene and his wife Gail get a dollar from the Rebbe
The Rebbe sharing a thought with Prof. Greene in 770
The Rebbe sharing a thought with Prof. Greene in 770
Prof. Greene and his son Rabbi Dovid Greene of Minnesota with the Rebbe
Prof. Greene and his son Rabbi Dovid Greene of Minnesota with the Rebbe

Opinions and Comments
:( realy sad
realy sad
(11/21/2011 9:30:40 AM)
So sad
I went to the Bais Olam yesterday for my husbands yeartzeit and saw so many of our friends buried there. now another special friend. Velvel and Gail were often guests at our home in Crown Heights. I remember how Velvel influenced many years ago when I lived in Cleveland with his sharp mind and especially his Moshel about. A journey to outer space.
May the entire family take comfort in know that Velvel was instrumental in the return of many Nechama.
Hensha Gansbourg
(11/21/2011 9:43:08 AM)
remembering dr. green
About 45 years ago, Velvel Green was the featured speaker at a Chabad dinner in Oak Park, Michigan, and spent the night in our home.
During the night, when my baby cried and I got up to tend to her, Dr. Green, the eminent microbiologist and guest of honor, was already in the room, preparing to make her a bottle.!!!!
This was the essence of Dr. Velvel Green.
May his memory be a blessing to his family and friends around the world.

(11/21/2011 9:47:30 AM)
(11/21/2011 9:52:39 AM)
He has 3 daughters. Rachel Black, Penina Seidel and Nechama Kahana.
(11/21/2011 10:03:55 AM)
Remembering the professor
We loved him. He was a power house. We have many fond memories. We loved to hear his stories and encounters with him and the Rebbe. He was inspiring to all of us.
May his memory be a blessing to all.
Levi and Sora Feller
(11/21/2011 10:11:18 AM)
boruch dayon hoemes
I was learning in kfar chabad 3 years ago, and we arranged a farbrengen with R' velvel OBM in one of anashes house, it was amazing to hear his stories about the rebbe, and to get a sneak peek at his folder full of the rebbes letters, he was a very special yid!
We actually have a 3 hour recording of that farbrengen, hopefully we will put it out in the near future for the public to listen to
(11/21/2011 10:34:45 AM)
Kos Tanchumim BDE
as Rabbi Kotlarsky has correctly pointed out one is a "Baal Teshuvah" for 10-12 months then one is like all of "us" however was not like all of us by any streach of the imagination a wonderful chosid and person T"NZBH.
(11/21/2011 10:36:54 AM)
A true example of a Chassid.
Actually when asked "if he was a Baal Teshuva", Reb Velvel was often heard saying "I will let you know when i will become one, for now Im still working on it".
A true example of a Chassid.
(11/21/2011 10:46:05 AM)
An amazing true chassid
He was a great example for us all.
may his memory be for a Blessing
Boruch dayan Haemes
(11/21/2011 10:54:46 AM)
Baruch Dayan Emes, Dovid: HYEBSAZV - only Simchos!
(11/21/2011 11:08:12 AM)
moshe der g
to our dearest friend reb dovid shliach in rochester minnisota
hamkoim yenachem eschem besoich sharei aveli zion veyerushalyim. your father was a great guy. and you were his great son. the respect and love you had for him were unlimited. may he be a melitz yoisher for you and your family and klal yisroel
(11/21/2011 11:14:01 AM)
what a loss
This is an imeasurable loss to Lubavitch and the Jewish world. It's terrible what Hashem has been plucking away from us.
(11/21/2011 11:29:39 AM)
Really sad...
What a mentsch, chossid, special person. I had the chance to interview him a few years ago for JEM for 5 hours... what a special man...
(11/21/2011 11:59:01 AM)
Great man. Great loss
Rememeber Prof. Velvel Greene since 1967. Was a great help to me. Unique speaker and writer. A person of heart and soul. A Neshomodiker Yid. And I loved his Yiddish. Will be greatly missed. המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים, בזכרו הבהיר תמצאו ניחומים, ויקיצו וירננו שוכני עפר והוא, יקירנו, בתוכם תיכף ומיד ממש
(11/21/2011 12:21:43 PM)
A fEw years ago he spoke in our Chabad in YL, CA and we spent the ride from la together as well as a beautiful shabbos. He was a great speaker, bt most importantly a kind, good hearted, concerned and sensitive man. We remember him and wish his family well.
(11/21/2011 1:20:54 PM)
wow what a loss
(11/21/2011 1:23:01 PM)
minnesota beis chana
I remember he spoke in Minnesota when I was a student in Beis Chana there in summer 1983/84. Never forgot him. May his family only know simcha's in the future.
(11/21/2011 4:12:05 PM)
He epitomized a mentsch
His son, Rabbi Dovid Greene, contacted me when my family and I lived in Raanana, as I was organizing shiurim in English for Professor Greene, a'h, in the city. Rabbi Greene asked me to find a videographer to tape his father's shiurim, as most of those given previously had been on Shabbos - hence, no videos. The result: About 6 taped shiurim, b'h. We became friends, and I learned much from his humility, genuine simcha in life, and beautiful ability to truly not judge a fellow Jew based on his dress or derech.

Prof. Greene, a'h, graced us with his presence at our son's bris; he took the train from Beer Sheva and a few buses to Raanana to attend.

We will miss him dearly, and pray that the family knows only revealed good from here on out.

-- Julie & Erez Levi, Minnesota
(11/21/2011 4:15:56 PM)
to dovid
sorry for your loss. hamokoim yenachem eschem
yerachmiel wolowik
(11/21/2011 4:39:56 PM)
So sad, what a loss!
He spoke at our Chabad House years ago, and he was amazing. What a special Jew.

May Hashem comfort the family for this loss.
(11/21/2011 4:55:52 PM)
Boruch Dayan haEmes
(11/21/2011 4:59:12 PM)
Boruch Dayan haEmes
(11/21/2011 5:50:22 PM)
Great loss
I first met Prof. Green when I was only six years old when
we became neighbors.
Our first conversation was on 'Kriat Shema' and on the different appearance and Grammar of the 'Mezuzot' word between the first and the second 'Parasha'.
Our last conversation was when I turned thirty, it was on computer hacking news and techniques.
In this vast spectrum of knowledge fields Prof. Green understood.
I will miss you Velvel., I will miss our talks and our Chess matches on Saturday, I will miss your smile and your care
(11/21/2011 5:55:31 PM)
Rabbi Moshe Bryski
He inspired so many Jews with his brilliance, eloquence, love of Hashem, love of Torah and Mitzvos, love of Eretz Yisroel.. my community was blessed to have heard Velvel numerous times over the years... He will never be forgotten.. Dovid, you were blessed with a very special father... he wil be missed... Hamokom Yenachem Eschem Besoch Shar Aveili Tzion VYurashalayim..
(11/21/2011 8:26:59 PM)
Rabbi Yitzchok Yaacov Charytan
Prof. Green grew up here in Winnipeg Canada and in his youth attended a Yiddish language school known as the Peretz Shulleh.
One of the teachers there was a Yid by the name of Noiach Witman (who in the 70's 80's and 90's hosted a Yiddish Radio program where he let Chabad Nigunim and sichos of the Rebbe be given over in Yiddish by Rabbi Avrohom Altein the head shliach)
Mr. Witman before he passed away liked to talk to me in Yiddish. In one of our conversations he told me that Velvel Green was one of his students. One day Mr. Witman gathered his post barmitzvah students for a class in TeNaCh. He brought yarmulkas and told them that
"even though we are not religious we should put them on to feel the specialness of the ancient texts."
"All the boys there put on yarmulkas except for one - Velvel Green."
When he asked him why he refused he said "it was a matter principle not to do something he didn't believe in."
"I still cannot believe that of all my students HE WAS THE ONE WHO BECAME A LUBAVITCHER!!!" exclaimed Mr. Witman

I said to Mr. Witman that it was precisely because he stood his ground against the peer pressure of his teacher and his fellow students with his strong principled stand that he ended up becoming a Lubavitcher.

To the entire family of Velvel Green - hamokoim yenachem eschem besoich shar aveilei tzion v'yerusholayim
Vhokitsu vrannu shoichei offor
Bevias bkorov mamosh hageula hoamitis vhashleima
(11/22/2011 12:56:53 AM)
Feigelstocks pgh
Our thoughts are with you.May you know of only revealed good from now on.Hamokom yenachaim eschem
(11/22/2011 1:06:44 AM)
Missing Velvel. Greene already
The funeral is at 2:00 at the New Cemetary in Beer Sheva, today, Tuesday.
I would compare Velvel Greene,Alav Hashalom, to Leonardo diVinci of the secular world. He knew so much aout so many things. His power of understanding and clear sitedness always impressed me. His deep Torah discussions he had with my husband and family over the Shabbat Kidush table at our home with our childre will be remembered.. Shalom Saba Zeev.
Sima and Yehudah Tamir
(11/22/2011 2:38:36 AM)
Sara Granddaughter
We love you Zaidy, we miss you terribly.
The whole family.
(11/22/2011 3:56:09 AM)
my king has been taken,and i want a rematch.
,,,now im angry !!

(the last remark i used every time he won at chess. he LOVED it, used to make his day to hear it)
(11/22/2011 8:43:45 AM)
Rabbi Moishe Leider Chabad of University City
Years ago we invited him to speak at Chabad in S. Diego during the winter. On Friday I asked if he would like to come and see the ocean and enjoy the beautiful California weather. He instead wanted to stay in the Chabad House and prepare his talks that he would give over Shabbos. He had great respect for his audience and wanted to give them his full attention. The talks were truly magnificent. We had him many times since and he never disappointed us. We will dearly miss him.
(11/22/2011 2:08:16 PM)
Does anyone know where the family is sitting Shiva? Is it in Beer Sheva or Jerusalem?
(11/22/2011 3:09:34 PM)
At the Greene home in Beer Sheva.
(11/22/2011 4:00:44 PM)
Professor Greene,a Memorable Chossid.
I remember Professor Greene speaking at several Tzach functions. He was a gifted speaker who connected extremely well with his audience. His thought-provoking messages, delivered without pomp or arrogance, invariably left a powerful impression on his listeners- Yidden and, l'havdil, non-Jews alike. His was a truly meaningful and productive life. May that fact bring a measure of nechoma to his family and friends. Hamakom yenachem eschem b'soch sh'aar aveili Tzion Vee'rushalayim.
(11/23/2011 1:37:10 AM)
Friends from Montreal
To Dovid,Hamokom Yenachem Eschem bsoich Shaar aveilei tzion V'yerusholoyim only simchos, from here on
(11/23/2011 9:09:50 PM)
a real friend to the jewish community
baruch dayan emet!!!!
may his memory be a blessing
(11/24/2011 12:46:47 AM)
Boruch Dayan Hoemes
I remember Professor Greene farbrenging with the English speaking bochurim in Kfar Chabad, it must have been in 1970 (over 40 years ago). I still remember some of his "maases" about NASA. He was brilliant!
(11/24/2011 5:21:38 PM)
A Phenomena the Rebbe Prepared for
Velvel Greene was a phenomena that will always be part of the history of Chabad. Going to University enabled the Rebbe to cultivate and introduce to the world a phenomena and international influence as unique and as impacting as the personage of Velvel Greene. He reached everyone! I remember the three different occasions that he lectured at the Chabad House in our area. Yet I still remember the details of his report I heard when I was but a child, as he told of his visit to the then Soviet Union (with Rabbi Shmuel Lew). How he gave away his Tefillin in Russia before leaving ("I will buy a new pair, but he can't" And I seem to recall that included his Rabbainu Tam). And I remember him telling, with tears flowing, how on the plane home he cried, "How could it be that I am free and they are not just because I have a different passport?" And who can forget his "signature" story about a "manned mission to Mars?" Only in the world of truth, where he is now, can he get a true glimpse of the multitudes who were inspired by that story alone! Dear Greene family, I believe you have no idea how proud you should be of him. My entire body is emotional just writing these few words.
(5/27/2013 5:58:30 PM)
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