Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak kazen was known as the "Father of the Jewish Internet" and the "Virtual rabbi". When he passed away at 44, on the 12th of Kislev last year, the world wide web lost one of its most beloved and dedicated pioneers.
YY, as he was affectionately known, was born in Cleveland, an only son after six daughters, to Rabbi and Rebbetzin Zalman and Shula Kazen.
His parents escaped Stalin's Russia to find refuge in America. Rabbi Kazen Sr. serves as a Rav and was a respected shochet for many years, while the Rebbetzin is very active in communal affairs, more recently focusing on Cleveland's Russian immigrants.
YY enjoyed a traditional Jewish upbringing and education, and studied in Lubavitch Yeshivos in Europe and New York.
Already as a youngster, he was in the forefront of Global Communications, playing an active role in the international telephone hook-ups broadcasting the Rebbe's addresses live to the world. Later, he took on an administrative role in the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva. Eventually, he found his true calling and together with his colleague, Rabbi Eli Winsbacher, received the Rebbe's blessing to develop and direct the multi-faceted network of Chabad-Lubavitch in Cyberspace.
As the world's first on-line Rabbi, YY was able to reach the otherwise unreachable; whether around the corner in Manhattan or around the world in Antarctica. We may never be able to appreciate his true worth. His "congregation" consisted of strangers scattered over the universe. He gave them his all and was always only a click away for all of them.
May his merit shield his wife Rochel and their children, Raizy, Michoel, Shmuel, Elchonon, Peretz and Sarah for long and good lives. May Hashem grant his parents solace serenity and simcha.
May we speedily witness the prophecy of redemption when "they who repose in dust shall awake and rejoice."