In Memory

Lee Shai Weissbach

Lee Shai Weissbach

Passing of Prof. Lee Shai Weissbach

Discussion published by Shalom Berger on Sunday, October 2, 2022

H-Judaic is greatly saddened to learn of the passing, after a prolonged illness, of Lee Shai Weissbach (1947-2022), emeritus professor of history at the University of Louisville, where he also had served as a department chair and associate dean.  Prof. Weissbach was born in Haifa. After graduating with highest honors at the University of Cincinnati, he went on to Harvard, where he worked on a dissertation that was later published as CHILD LABOR REFORM IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY FRANCE:  ASSURING THE FUTURE HARVEST.   Subsequently, he turned to Jewish history, completing a volume on THE SYNAGOGUES OF KENTUCKY, and, in 2005, his masterwork, JEWISH LIFE IN SMALL-TOWN AMERICA:  A HISTORY. In 2013, he published, with introduction and notes, the memoir of his grandfather,  Menahem Mendel Frieden, under the title A JEWISH LIFE ON THREE CONTINENTS.  Prof. Weissbach was a leading expert on small-town Jews and synagogues, and participated in the activities of the American Jewish Historical Society, and the Southern Jewish Historical Society.  He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

We extend deepest condolences to his family, colleagues, students and friends.

Jonathan D. Sarna

Chair, H-Judaic

It is with sadness that we note the passing of friend and classmate Lee Shai Weissbach.  

Lee passed away Thursday night in Philadelphia where he was living to be close to his son.  

We will update this page as more details become available.  

These are links to articles about Lee and the extent of his work.  

Reflections on Historian Lee Shai Weisbach’s Retirement from UofL | Jewish Community of Louisville (

Lee Shai Weissbach | Southern Jewish Historical Society (  

lee shai weissbach  - Search (

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10/02/22 01:09 PM #1    

Rhoda Tessel (Ulas)

We go back to Bond Hill.  Lee was always  super nice,  kind, and brilliant. May His Memor Always Be A Blessing and May He Rest In Eternal Peace.


10/03/22 05:37 AM #2    

Elinda Fishman (Kiss)

So sorry to learn about Lee Shai. I remember him from Adath Israel; his mother was our Hebrew teacher one year. May his memory be for a blessing.

10/03/22 10:56 AM #3    

Denni Linder (Glick)

I am so sorry to hear that we have lost Lee Shai.  I always enjoyed his wit and wisdom at Woodward and was hoping to see him at this last reunion.  Sending my sincerest condolensces to Sharon and his family.  He was such a brilliant, accomplished, and kind person.  He will be missed by many!


10/03/22 11:41 AM #4    

Peggy Rich (Friedman)

Although I did not Lee well, I am always saddened to hear of a classmate passing away.  Sincere condolences to his family,  May his Memory Be A Blessing.....

10/11/22 05:13 PM #5    

Jill Harris (Goldstein)

I was shocked to open up our website to find out about Lee Shai's death.  Lee's and my relationship went all of the way back to our involvement in the labor zionist movement in the late 50's and 60's.  It was partly Lee's influence that spurred my husband and I to move to Israel for 3 years.  I will always hold his memory close to my heart and I know it will be a blessing to those who knew him.

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