Half a million mourners attend the rabbi’s funeral in Israel

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The funeral of a revered rabbi in Israel on Sunday drew half a million mourners in traditional ultra-Orthodox garb and turned the streets of a religious Tel Aviv suburb into a billowing sea of ​​black.

The streets of Bnei Brak were packed with men and boys in black suits – one of the largest gatherings in Israel’s history – mourning the death of Belarusian-born Chaim Kanievsky, who died on Friday at the age of 94.

Dozens of police officers divided the huge crowd and formed a phalanx around the van carrying the rabbi’s body as the vehicle crept towards the Bnei Brak cemetery.

“[Kanievsky’s] Death is a great loss for the Jewish people,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett wrote on Twitter.

Police estimated the crowd at around half a million people – one of the largest gatherings in Israel’s history.

Kanievsky, who was born in modern-day Belarus, was the de facto head of the so-called Lithuanian branch of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, and his knowledge of Jewish law was so highly regarded that his judgments were believed to require full compliance within his community.

The revered Haredi Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky died on March 18, 2022 at the age of 94.
Picasa
Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews escort the body of Israel's leading ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky during his mass funeral in Bnei Brak on March 20, 2022.
Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews escort the body of Israel’s leading ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky during his mass funeral in Bnei Brak on March 20, 2022.
EPO/ABIR SULTAN
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men carry the body of prominent Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky.
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men carry the body of prominent Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky.
REUTERS/Avshalom Sassoni
Police estimated the crowd at around half a million people - one of the largest gatherings in Israel's history.
Police estimated the crowd at around half a million people – one of the largest gatherings in Israel’s history.
AP Photo/Oded Balilty
Kanievsky was one of the most influential scholars of the religious community in Israel.
Kanievsky was one of the most influential scholars of the religious community in Israel.
AP Photo/Oded Balilty
Orthodox Jewish mourners gather around the remains of Haredi Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky ahead of his funeral at the Ponevezh parish cemetery in the town of Bnei Barak, near Tel Aviv.
Orthodox Jewish mourners gather around the remains of Haredi Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky ahead of his funeral at the Ponevezh parish cemetery in the town of Bnei Barak, near Tel Aviv.
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish girls pray during the funeral procession of prominent Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky.
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish girls pray during the funeral procession of prominent Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky.
REUTERS/Amir Cohen

He was known to some followers as “our Master, the Prince of the Torah,” embracing the laws and traditions of the religion. Benjamin Brown, a professor of Jewish thought at the Hebrew University, told AFP that Kanievsky “became an authority figure almost against his own will.”

“I cried when I heard he was dead,” said Shlomo Lugassi, 41, who had previously unsuccessfully tried to push through the crowds to reach the late rabbi’s apartment.

With postal wires



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