More than 1,500 mourners paid tribute to Australia’s most senior Orthodox rabbi.
Wednesday’s memorial service for Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner, the chief rabbi of Melbourne’s Chabad-Lubavitch community, took place outside the Yeshivah Centre that he built as his Lubavitch headquarters. The ceremony was streamed live on the Internet, allowing thousands around the world to watch it.
Groner died Monday after a long illness.
Police closed the main street outside the Yeshivah Centre to enable the mass of mourners to follow the coffin as it departed for the airport. His body was flown to Israel for burial Friday on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem alongside his parents.
Hundreds of messages from places such as Tasmania, New Zealand, South Africa, Israel, America and England already have been posted on the Yeshivah Centre’s Web site.
“Australian Jewry has lost one of its noblest personalities,” wrote Isi Leibler, a former president of the Australian Jewish community, who now lives in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a rabbinical student in Australia in the 1980s, wrote: “It’s safe to say that there will never be another like Rabbi Groner. It’s also safe to say that if world Jewry could produce another hundred like him, we would instantly solve the global problem of Jewish assimilation. But that’s the problem with great men. They are so rare that they are not always appreciated during their lifetime, but are sorely missed once their fiery hearts are no longer present to illuminate our lives.”