HaRav Dovid Yitzchak Ben Akiva Yehuda Keehn z”l, 54, was a dedicated community icon, beloved husband, father, and brother. He was known to all as the chaplain of Queens. Rabbi Keehn left an indelible mark on young and old, lecturing to school children and helping the hospital-bound for 23 years at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens (Booth Memorial) as their Jewish chaplain and director of pastoral care, and as the hospital rabbi at NYU Langone’s Manhattan campus since 2017. Although legally blind, Rabbi Keehn overcame hurdles to be the light and guide to so many.

Rabbi Keehn was known to help families during their time of need, ministering to patients, families, and staff across the Jewish spectrum, and to people of all faiths. He developed relationships with the leading rabbis in the community as well as with clergy. Rabbi Keehn stood true to his goal of helping make a difficult time easier by giving each person the ministry of the moment. Rabbi Keehn was dedicated to Congregation Ahavas Yisroel, the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and was deeply involved in many community groups, including serving at Queens Jewish Community Council, where he was a former president and current vice president, the Rabbinical Council of America, and the Rabbinical Alliance of America (RAA Igud HaRabbonim).

The levayah was held on Wednesday, October 27, at Schwartz Brothers-Jeffer Memorial Chapels in Forest Hills; k’vurah was at Beth David Cemetery in Elmont. The family is getting up from shiv’ah at the Keehn residence, 144-17 72nd Drive in Kew Gardens Hills on Tuesday morning, November 2.

Rabbi Keehn is survived by his wife Andrea, his wonderful children, siblings, each patient with whom he ever spoke, and every student he inspired. 

Y’hi Zichro Baruch.

By Shabsie Saphirstein