Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Thousands at Lavaya Of R' Shalom Cohen Zt’l

Spiritual leader of Shas party passed away at the age of 91

Thousands of Israeli mourners on Monday paid respect to the spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, Rabbi Shalom Cohen, who passed away at the age of 91.

Police patrolled the procession route from the Porat Yosef Yeshiva that he led in Jerusalem's Geula neighborhood toward the Sanhedria Cemetery, with traffic disrupted in Israel's capital.

The chairman of the Shas party, Aryeh Deri, announced the passing of the party's spiritual leader, calling the rabbi "Our father, our teacher, our leader."

He was laid to rest next to his wife and near the resting place of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the former Shas spiritual leader who died nine years ago.

The party has a huge influence politically. Historically, the party has been the determining factor in building right-wing governments and the party therefore held massive political power over national policy.

Cohen was born in Jerusalem in 1931 to a rabbi father who ran a yeshiva in the holy city. He studied at the Porat Yosef Yeshiva in his youth and later taught there before becoming its leader.

Cohen was one of the first to publicly support Shas when it entered municipal politics in Jerusalem in the early 1980s, before joining the party's Council of Sages in 1984.

He is expected to be replaced on the council by Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, the son of Ovadia Yosef, who currently serves as Israel's chief Sephardic rabbi. He will complete his 10-year term next year, paving the way for his return to Shas.

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