Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Thousands at 36th Yahrzeit of Satmar Rebbe

Tens of thousands of worshipers descended on Kiryas Joel Tuesday to pay respects to Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum.

He's considered by many to be the architect of the Satmar Hasidic faith in America after the Holocaust. Tuesday marked the 36th anniversary of his death.

"People feel close to the old rabbi, they come and they pray in his memory they light a candle they donate to charity," said Moses Witriol of Kiryas Joel Public Safety.

Between 30,000 and 35,000 came from all across the U.S. for the annual pilgrimage to the burial site in Kiryas Joel, the village named for the Grand Rabbi himself. Local leaders said the tradition is a sacred one and that visiting the mausoleum is about more than just one person.

"The message of love and faith and caring for everyone and coexistence is what it's all about here and that's what we're coming to bring honor to," said Rabbi Joseph Kolakowski of Sullivan County.

Teitelbaum is a legendary leader in the Hasidic Jewish community. Countless prayed inside the mausoleum where the leader was buried back in 1979.

"A cause for the community to come together and people from outside the community, all people from all over the world they travel here," said Kolakowski.

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