Funeral Details - Chicago Jewish Funerals

Funeral Details


Funeral Details

Rabbi Leo R. Wolkow


We invite you to record a video, sharing a story or memory of Leo R. Wolkow. Your private recording will only be shared with the family.

Zoom Shiva

Shiva will be via Zoom
Shiva Thursday and Saturday 7:30PM

Memorial Contributions

Shir Tikvah
1424 West 183rd Street
Homewood, Illinois 60430
Jewish United Fund
30 South Wells Street, Room 3134
Chicago, Illinois 60606


Rabbi Leo R. Wolkow, age 87

Beloved husband of Helen for 62 years. Loving father of Lisa, Rachel, and Jason Wolkow. Dear brother of the late Irving (Selma Ruth) Wolkow. Devoted brother-in-law of Laura Sandler (Elliot Spiegelman) and the late Freddy (the late Rhoda) Bartfeld. Cherished uncle of Steven (Shelly) Sandler, Gail Tanney, Ronni (Norman) Cook, Mark (Pat) Wolkow, Jeffrey (Suzanne) Bartfeld, Leslie (Bruce) Goodman. Fond great-uncle of many. He was the Rabbi for 37 years of Temple B'nai Yehuda and was a founding member of the South Suburban Ministerial Association. While serving on the faculty of Olin-Sang-Ruby (OSRUI) he became known as the famous "Rav." Rabbi Wolkow continued serving the community for years as Rabbi Emeritus and as the part-time Rabbi of Temple Sinai of Lake Charles, LA. To keep everyone safe and healthy, the interment service will be private. Memorial contributions may be made to Shir Tikvah, or Jewish United Fund, To attend the funeral live stream, please visit our website. Arrangements by Chicago Jewish Funerals - Buffalo Grove Chapel, 847.229.8822,


We encourage you to share your personal
condolences and stories of Rabbi Leo R. Wolkow below and
we will share them with the family.

Jill Freed Gerstenfield

×?×?ק×?ם ×?× ×?ם את×?ם ×?ת×?×? שאר א×?×?×? צ×?×?×? ×?×?ר×?ש×?×?ם
"May God comfort you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem."

Sandy Stelzer

So sorry for you loss, We will say a special prayer for your family.

Laura Mizrahi

So sorry for your loss. Your family is in my thoughts.

Marvin Feinberg

We remember wonderful times we enjoyed as members of Temple B'nai Yehuda. They were marked by Rabbi Wolkow's capable leadership, which was marked by his excellent ability to cultivate successful relationships with members of the congregation. We found his memory to be remarkable. He was learned and personable. He was a valued contributor to the leadership of the clerical community in Homewood and Flossmoor. Please accept our sincere condolences.
Marvin and Rena Feinberg

Cheri Spalo

My condolences, wishing you peace and comfort. God bless.

Lexa Leifer

As a good friend of Jason,Leo's son I was privy to many wonderful stories of Leo and the humor and wisdom he shared with everyone! You're light will continue in the hearts of all the people you touched. Blessed Beð??

Linda Welch

I'm so very sorry for your loss. My heart and prayers are with you and your family Jason

Alexa Tanney

I will always remember my Great Uncle Leo as someone with a warm smile and huge hugs. His stories and his wisdom will be forever remembered in the hearts of our family.

Irwin Goldenberg

I have many memories of our madrichim, Leo and Helen, as they led our Young Judaea Year Course in Israel in 1959, but one that happened after that year is most significant in my mind. That is Leo's rabbinic ordination ceremony at Temple Emanuel in NY. I watched from the balcony as he stood before the ark and recieved the blessing and became aware that I might be able to do likewise. I did stand before that ark, as did my daughter, Rachel, many years later and thus began a most fulfilling career as a rabbi that was literally initiated by Leo. Thank you Leo for all you gave me. Zichrono Liv'racha!

Charley Warady

I was just at the ZOOM funeral. That was a first.

A rush of memories came in when I was watching. Like, after Rabbi Cohen left Temple B'nai Yehuda on 83 & Jeffrey on the South Side of Chicago, the first thing Rabbi Wolkow did was to switch over to Sephardic Hebrew. We had all learned Ashkenasi with Rabbi Cohen, and we had to relearn Hebrew for "the new guy".

I remember he always hated the German Kaddush during High Holidays, and he was never allowed to change it.

I remember dedicating the stained glass window in the new temple in Homewood in his name. I had won money in the temple lottery, and I didn't know I even had entered (my Dad threw in my name), and my Dad woke me up in bed to tell me I had won. He also told me I wasn't keeping the money. I was going to donate it back to the temple somehow. The new temple in Homewood was just being built and it needed stained glass windows. I told my Dad I wanted to buy one of those. He asked me whose memory I wanted to dedicate it to. I told him I didn't want to donate it to anybody's memory. I wanted to dedicate it to Rabbi Wolkow.

The window is still there. Check it out. Because that's what he meant to me even then.

Frank Shuftan

I was Rabbi's first bar mitzvah when he and Helen came to Chicago and TBY. He was, as Rabbi Dreyfus put it so well, a teacher and a friend. For a 13-year-old who was 'breaking in� a new rabbi with a bar mitzvah just months away, there was some trepidation. But Rabbi Leo put all that rest with his force of personality.

He had a great sense of humor. He would jokingly wield a Whiffle Ball bat in his cramped Teepee Temple office when I would make an error while practicing my Maftir or Haftorah (and I made plenty of those errors). He and I shared an inside joke for many years when he procured a signed photo of wrestler Nickoli Volkov (his cousin). Helen mentioned that he loved a good party ' and I also saw evidence of that.

He and Helen were very kind to my mother in her later years, visiting her and taking her places prior to her death almost exactly 10 years who. My brother and I always appreciated these kindnesses.

Regrettably, I fell out of touch with Rabbi Leo in recent years. Yet knowing him and learning from him remain constants within me. I am grateful for that and more.

My deepest condolences to Helen and all the Wolkows.

-- Frank Shuftan

robin and paul bralower

love to the wolkow family
rest in peace the spirtual leader of the sugar family we will miss you . you were wonderful to my parents . You bat mitzvah my sister and myself and married my sister and myself . you will never be forgotten

Randy and Joyce Ferrari

Leo will always remain alive in the memories of the many who loved, respected and treasured him. May the love of family and friends comfort and strengthen you in the days ahead. "He leaves the vivid air signed with his honor."

Carol Sanes-Miller

As with others, my memories of Rabbi Wolkow come in snippets, and most hinge on his mischievous sense of humor.
During one Friday night Oneg, Rabbi quietly tiptoed behind my then 3 or 4-year-old sister Julie, waiting for an opportunity to pull her very long, very pretty ponytail. On this occasion however, feeling the inevitable tug, she wheeled around and at the top of her voice informed him - If you are going to pull my ponytail, I'm gonna pull the ponytail on your chin! And she did.
Having Rabbi as our Sunday School teacher was also an experience, especially on weekends when he was on duty with the army reserves; he would come to shul in full uniform--including helmet, boots, beard, and cigar!
Bar Mitzvah class was an entity of its own. Frank already described the wrestler picture and Whiffleball bat. Inviting one's siblings to whale on the Bat Mitzvah kid was another of Rabbi's favorite pranks. He also thoroughly enjoyed sharing in our french fries and Carls hot dogs, which we brought when expecting a long wait before our turn to practice. The glint in his eye as he absconded with some French fries or a chunk of hot dog was priceless.
I also recall the proud look on his face as he stood kvelling on the bima opposite my sister Janet, who had the last bat mitzvah in the Teepee Temple. Cantor Altman had been unable to participate that day, so chanting parts in the Shabbat morning service was handled by Janet instead of Rabbi. (It was better that way!) Shortly thereafter, B'nai Yehuda moved south; the Sanes clan moved north, but we continued to remain in touch.
In 1977 Rabbi Wolkow and Cantor Altman officiated at our wedding, held outside, motzei shabbat, behind the synagogue our parents joined after moving north. During the service, Rabbi pull out several sheets of old notebook paper and begin to read. It took a minute or so for me to realize that he had just started to read my bat mitzvah speechâ?¦.in its entiretyâ?¦at our wedding! The wry sm

Jeffrey Bartfeld

On the Death of a Beloved Uncle

Today the world is sad.
It buries its face
in its hands;

Does not want to accept,
in its bosom of dirt,
the body of a man
so loved.

For us who knew him so long,
the pain burrows deep into the heart,
to reside there

Still there is love
inside the pain;
a softness centered
within a hard shell.

The white blossoms of spring,
tears on their petals,
want to know why
a good man must die.

Perhaps this man of deeds,
those flat stones
that skip across the river of time,
in this way
touches eternity.

© Jeffrey S Bartfeld
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