JERUSALEM (JTA) – Thousands of followers attended the funeral of the Vizhnitzer rebbe, Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Hager, in Bnei Brak.
The funeral for Hager, the leader of the second-largest Chasidic sect in Israel for the last 40 years, was held Wednesday at the Vizhnitz Torah study hall. Hager had died the night before at the age of 95; he reportedly had Alzheimer’s disease and other health problems.
Both of his sons are expected to succeed Hager as leader of the Vizhnitzer sect. The Vizhnitz Chasidic movement started in Romania and was revived in Israel after the establishment of the state.
Hager also served as the president of the Council of Great Torah Sages, the decision-making body of Agudath Yisrael.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his condolences to the rebbe’s followers. "We have lost a dear man, an exemplar, a great leader, one who led one of the largest and most important communities in the Jewish world – Vishnitz Hasidim. He has thousands of students who will carry on his legacy for generations to come. Having devotedly led thousands of people, his passing is a major loss for ultra-orthodox Judaism and for the entire Jewish People."