Rabbi Shneur Chaim HaKohen Gutnick

1921 - 2003

In his chaplain uniform with the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, M.M. Schneerson

Time Line of Rabbi Gutnick's Life

  • 1921: Born in the city of Zolotmonosh, Ukraine
  • 1932: Chaim's father died at age 35 (he, 12)
  • 1936: Chaim is sent to the famous Telse yeshiva, in Lithuania, aged 15. He gains Semicha (rabbinical ordination at the age of 20).
  • 1940: The Russians annexed Lithuania and shut down the Yeshivah. He is sent to the far East - Shang Hai.
  • 1941: Arrived in Cairns, Australia and makes his way down to settle in Sydney, Australia.
  • 1942: Chaim volunteers for the Australian army.
  • 1944: He is honorably discharged from the army.
  • 1945: Marries Rose Chester, gives birth to two daughters Channah and Peninah, and four boys, Mordechai, Joseph, Moshe and Avraham.
  • 1947: Is reunited with his Mother Chaya Basya and her husband, the late Rabbi Asher Abramson (after 14 yrs).
  • 1957: Approached to become rabbi of the Elwood Hebrew Congregation, home to a large influx of European Holocaust survivors, only one year later moves to Melbourne and assumes post.
  • 1961: Becomes president of the Jewish National Fund until 1967.
  • 1966: Founds the Rabbinical College of Australia and New Zealand.
  • 1967: Appointed president of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria.
  • 2002: Establishes new procedures for the Melbourne Bet Din.
  • 2003: Rabbi Gutnick is awarded a Centenary of Federation medal in honor of his contribution to the community. He formally retires from Elwood Hebrew Congregation after 45 years of service.

As Rabbi of the Elwood Congregation he was known as the Survivors Rabbi, to his fellow piers he was known as a "Rabbi's Rabbi", to his community he was considered the "People's Rabbi", to his family he was simply known as "Zayda Chaim" and to rest of the world he was known as "Chief Rabbi".

Father of the world renowned Philanthropist Joseph Gutnick

Uncle of the Publisher and co-sponsor of the Gutnick Chumash.

As a Rabbi, Teacher & Rosh Yeshivah he Authored countless monumental Torah classes, essays and exposes.

Grandfather to over 80 grand and great grand children.

He is interred in Melbourne, Australia.

"May those who lie in the dust arise and rejoice..."

Throughout his life time, he merited the very close relationship with the Rebbe in NY. Over the years, he had visited NY quite often and had spoken at speaking arrangements throughout the Country. He was known as a world class orator, truly in a class of his own. He was a very well respected man and loved by all his family, friends and all those who new him and seeked counsel from him.