William Helmreich, August 25, 1945 – March 28, 2020, lived at 120 West 105th Street in Harlem, New York.
He was a Swiss-born professor of sociology at the City College of New York Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership in Harlem and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
He was also a published author.
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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 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.
Helmreich died of COVID-19 on March 28, 2020, in Great Neck, New York, at the age of 74, during the COVID-19 pandemic.