Rabbi Henry Okolica

A true man of all people, Rabbi Henry Okolica has touched thousands of lives in his 103 years on this planet. Born in Germany, proud of his Polish heritage and a Holocaust survivor, the Rabbi is revered and respected by people of all backgrounds and faiths, hence his reputation as “Everyone’s Rabbi.” Okolica survived the infamous Nazi Kristallnacht – “Night of Broken Glass” – persecution campaign in November, 1938, and spent time in a Gestapo jail cell before escaping to the United States. Since arriving in New York in 1940 and taking the pulpit at Congregation Tephereth Israel in New Britain in 1960, Rabbi Okolica has been a source of faith and inspiration; he created and hosted the weekly “Jewish Life” program on WVIT TV-30 for more than 30 years, and he and his wife Lisbeth became renowned for their Shabbat hospitality, inviting congregants and strangers to their home every week. In the Rabbi’s own words, “I didn’t escape Germany to live my own life. I escaped because God commanded me to be his helper.”