William Benno Helmreich
|Died||March 28, 2020 (aged 74)|
|Awards||National Jewish Book Award for Contemporary Jewish Life & Practice, 2015 GANYC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Book Writing|
|Alma mater||Yeshiva University (BA)|
Washington University (MA, PhD)
William Helmreich (August 25, 1945 – March 28, 2020) was an American professor of sociology at the City College of New York Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He was also a published author.
Helmreich was a distinguished professor at the City University of New York, who specialized in race and ethnic relations, religion, immigration, risk behavior, the sociology of New York City, urban sociology, consumer behavior, and market research. He died during the COVID-19 pandemic due to complications brought on by COVID-19.
Helmreich was born in 1945 in Zürich, Switzerland, the son of Holocaust survivor parents. In 1946, he was brought to the US as an infant, and grew up in New York City on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Helmreich wrote about his early years in a book he named "Wake Up, Wake Up, to Do the Work of the Creator" (a phrase, spoken in Yiddish, by those who went house-to-house to awaken worshippers for daily prayer).
When asked about recordings of "many of the famous roshei Yeshiva of yesteryear" whom he interviewed, "Do you still have the recordings?" he replied "At one time I thought I did, but it seems that all I have are the transcripts." These he donated to his alma mater, Yeshiva University.
- The Black Crusaders (1973)
- The things they say behind your back (1982)
- The World of the Yeshiva (1982)
- Flight Path (1989)
- Against All Odds (1992)
- The Enduring Community (1998)
- What Was I Thinking (2010)
- The New York Nobody Knows (2013)
- The Brooklyn Nobody Knows (2016)
- The Manhattan Nobody Knows (2018)
The World of the Yeshiva
Helmreich revised his 1982 The World of the Yeshiva 18 years later by comparing sociological changes "among the strictly Orthodox" since his 1980 research. Two areas about the new edition highlighted by The New York Times are the doubling in those doing full-time "collegiate and graduate"-level religious studies and population growth.
- Niebuhr, Gustav (June 11, 2000). "Yeshivas of Traditional Orthodoxy Flourishing". The New York Times.
- Roberts, Sam (January 1, 2017). "Exploring New York, on Foot and With Maps". The New York Times.
- Rosenblum, Constance (December 12, 2013). "Hell on Shoe Leather". The New York Times.
- "William Helmreich". Archived from the original on October 8, 2019. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
- Berger, Joseph (March 30, 2020). "William Helmreich, Sociologist and a Walker in the City, Dies at 74". The New York Times. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
- Roberts, Sam (September 6, 2018). "He Walked 721 Miles to Find the Nooks and Crannies of 'The Manhattan Nobody Knows'". The New York Times.
- Sturla, Anna. "He walked every block of New York City and died of coronavirus". CNN. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
- Lehmann, James H. (August 1977). "Wake Up, Wake Up, to Do the Work of the Creator, by William B. Helmreich". Commentary Magazine.
- Roberts, Sam (November 1, 2013). "Above Ground and Below". The New York Times.
- "Chapter-II 2. Naipaul's and Richler's Works" (PDF).
... in keeping with the biblical source ... "Abraham rose up early ..."
- "Reunions". Yeshiva University. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
... Dr. William Helmreich (1967)
- Resnick, Elliot (December 4, 2013). "Six Thousand Miles And Nine Pairs Of Shoes Later: An Interview with Professor William Helmreich". The Jewish Press.
- with which he is still actively involved: Medina, Jennifer (August 28, 2002). "Wanted: University President/Religious Leader". The New York Times.
- Heilman, Uriel (March 30, 2020). "William Helmreich, sociologist of US Jewry and inveterate New Yorker, dies of coronavirus". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved March 30, 2020.