Israeli ultra-Orthodox spiritual leader Rabbi Gershon Edelstein dies at 100

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One of the spiritual leaders of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, died on Tuesday at the age of 100, official sources in Israel said.

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Israeli President Isaac Herzog mourned a “leading spiritual leader, whose knowledge of the Torah... has influenced our generation and will influence future generations.”

Israel’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi, David Lau, said the Jewish people in Israel and abroad “lament the death of the great rabbi Gershon Edelstein. May the memory of this righteous man who led the Jewish people be a blessing.”

Edelstein succeeded the influential rabbi Chaim Kanievsky as the head of the Council of Torah Sages in March 2022.

The institution steers the United Torah Judaism party, which is part of Israel’s governing coalition.

Born in Russia in 1923, Edelstein emigrated to then British-ruled Palestine in 1934.

The son of a rabbi, he devoted his entire life to the study of Jewish scriptures.

He taught at and later directed the prestigious Ponevez yeshiva, a school of Jewish learning in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, just east of Tel Aviv.

Vast crowds were expected to gather in the city later on Tuesday for Edelstein’s funeral.

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