Rabbi Manfred Gans accomplished a lot during his lifetime, but he is most remembered for his personal qualities.

Born in 1924 in Leer, Germany, his family moved to America in August of 1933.

In 1950, at age 25, Manfred Gans became just the second rabbi of Congregation Machane Chodosh, a synagogue founded by German Jewish refugees.

Rabbi Gans was instrumental in having the congregation move from Crown Heights to Forest Hills in 1977.    Their building was completed in 1981

During his career, Rabbi Gans was principal of the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County’s elementary school in West Hempstead, Principal of Yeshiva Dov Revel in Forest Hills, and President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens.

He created and led the Otsar Family Services for people with disabilities.    He was a board member of the American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Rabbi Peretz Steinberg, Rabbi Emeritus of the Young Israel of Queens Valley, remembered “the fine character” of Rabbi Gans.   “A real gentleman at all times.    “His word was law.   Whatever he would say he would do, he did.”

Rabbi Yossi Mendelson, who succeeded Rabbi Gans at Machane Chodosh in 2010, said, “Rabbi Gans was able to see the good in every Yid and had the uncanny ability to relate to different people meeting them at their level.   Rabbi Gans brought a sense of dignity and a beautiful aesthetic to avodas Hashem.”

Longtime Forest Hills resident Herb Levy said Rabbi Gans never asked how one got to his synagogue (car, taxi, etc.) but once there, “he would develop and increase your love of Judaism.”  He “showed an interest and was open to all people.”

“For 22 years, I was blessed,” said Maureen Eoyser, an aide to Rabbi and Rebbetzin Gans.   Rabbi Gans was very caring, and respectful, and made you feel comfortable.

While going through a painful divorce, Maureen talked with Rabbi Gans at length.    Rabbi Gans would call her on WhatsApp, while she was in her native country of Jamaica, to see how she was managing and when she would be returning.

Rabbi Gans insisted Maureen sit with him at all of his grandchildren’s weddings.    Rabbi Gans treated all of the aides (Ingrid, Bibi) “so special.”

After being part of the Friday night Shabbos meal, Rabbi Gans would not have tea and dessert until Maureen finished the dishes.

Most of all, Rabbi Gans loved being in shul, studying Torah, and praying, said Maureen.

By David Schneier