Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn (born January 29, 1945) is an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, mohel, author, and lecturer on topics related to ethics and spiritual growth. He is the author of the bestselling “Maggid” series of books for ArtScroll, inspired by the stories of Rabbi Sholom Schwadron, who was known as the “Maggid of Jerusalem“. He also authored a seminal work on brit milah (religious circumcision), also published by ArtScroll.
Rabbi Krohn was born in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. His father, Rabbi Avrohom Zelig Krohn, was a mohel (ritual circumcisor), of whom there were many in Brooklyn. He decided to build a practice in Queens and found a job in a hospital there. He moved his family to Kew Gardens when he was seven years old. Rabbi Krohn was one of the leaders of the Kew Gardens Pirchei boys choir.
Rabbi Krohn is well known as the author of a series of “Maggid” books inspired by the stories of Rabbi Sholom Schwadron, who was known as the “Maggid of Jerusalem” for the inspirational mussar talks he gave every Friday night from 1952 to 1992 to the public at the Zikhron Moshe shtiebel in Jerusalem. Rabbi Krohn met Rabbi Schwadron when his father invited Rabbi Schwadron to stay with them during one of his frequent fund-raising trips to America in late 1964, although Rabbi Schwadron didn’t know him or his family personally. Rabbi Schwadron insisted on paying rent, which Rabbi Krohn agreed to reluctantly.
During the five months that Rabbi Schwadron resided with the Krohns, a close bond formed between him and the family. When Rabbi Schwadron announced that he was leaving after Passover 1965 to travel back to Israel by boat, the entire family saw him off at the pier. Then Rabbi Krohn’s father handed Rabbi Schwadron an envelope containing all the “rent money” he had paid, as he had never intended to keep it. A few days later, Rabbi Krohn’s father said he missed his guest so much that he decided to greet him when his boat docked in Israel. He and his wife quickly arranged passports and flew to Israel two days before Rabbi Schwadron arrived. After giving the Schwadron family time for a reunion, the Krohns appeared with their own welcome.
Rabbi Avrohom Zelig Krohn was diagnosed with a terminal illness after this event, and died the following year. Six months after that, the family received a letter from Rabbi Schwadron saying that he was coming to America again. Rabbi Schwadron became a surrogate father to Krohn’s seven orphans. He showed great sensitivity towards Rabbi Krohn’s widow, remembering his own mother’s struggles to raise her orphaned children.
With Rabbi Schwadron’s encouragement and active input, Rabbi Paysach Krohn penned the first of his popular “Maggid” books, The Maggid Speaks, published in 1987. Rabbi Schwadron died before the publication of the second book in the series, The Maggid Speaks II. Subsequent titles (Along the Maggid’s Journey, In the Footsteps of the Maggid, Echoes of the Maggid, Reflections of the Maggid etc.) memorialized Schwadron’s influence on the overall project. As of 2012, Rabbi Krohn has published eight books in the series.
Rabbi Krohn is a fifth-generation mohel. At age 21, he was the youngest mohel ever certified by the Brith Milah Board of New York. He has performed thousands of religious circumcisions. His ceremonies have been described as “exceptionally spiritual and inspirational”.
Rabbi Krohn is a lecturer, sharing stories in the manner of a maggid and also collecting stories for his speeches and books. He also leads Jewish historical tours throughout Europe, speaking about the rich and vibrant Jewish communities that existed prior to World War II. He documented the first of these trips in his 2007 book, Traveling with the Maggid.
In December 2004 Rabbi Krohn launched the organization PaL (Phone and Learn) in the United Kingdom. A division of Partners in Torah in the U.S., PaL matches up Jews who want to learn more about their heritage with a friendly, knowledgeable tutor for up to an hour a week of Jewish study and discussion over the phone.