R’ Michel Raskin, the iconic founder of Raskin’s Fruit store on Kingston Ave in Crown Heights passed away on Sunday, 22 Teves, 5782.
He was 92.
R’ Michel, the eldest of four brothers, was born in Leningrad to his parents, the Chosid Reb Aaron Leib Laine HY”D and Doba Raiza Raskin OBM, who lived and raised their children with Mesiras Nefesh.
Before the War, Michel went to reside with his Zeideh, the famed Rov and Mashpia, Reb Yehoshua Laine HYD (R’ Shiya Beshinkovitz) in Rudniya, near Lubavitch. As the Germans advanced on Leningrad, Michel joined his mother and brothers in Gorki, where they lived out the war years in the home of his grandparents, Reb Shlome and Basya Chaya Yente Raskin. Michel’s young father perished on 10 Shevat in the siege of Leningrad, leaving the young Michel responsible for his family.
The family would eventually leave Russia during the “Great Escape”, arriving in New York in 1953.
Michel marriage to Dania (nee Rubashkin) was officiated by the Lubavitcher Rebbe Z”tl. The famed Raskin’s Fruit Store that the couple would found and operate would be the purveyor of produce to the “Beis Harav”.
The Raskin home would become a major center of Hachnosas Orchim and Chesed. Gedolim, Rabbanim, Roshei Yeshiva, Shluchim, Yeshiva Bochurim, the lonely and the common person would fill the home for Seudos and lodging.
Many will recall R’Michel operating his truck as he made deliveries along 13th ave, or waiting to greet you on the corner of President St and Kingston Avenues with his legendary handshake.