Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu (archives)
Photo: Haim Horenstein
Former Chief Sephardic Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu died Monday, after a lengthy hospitalization. He was 81.
Eliyahu passed away at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where he was hospitalized some two months ago.
Rabbi Eliyahu will be laid to rest at the Har Menuchot Cemetery (Mount of Final Rest) in Jerusalem. His funeral will leave the capital's Kiryat Moseh neighborhood at 10 pm.
Rabbi Eliyahu's condition was defined as 'critical' several times since his hospitalization. He deteriorated further Monday morning, and family and friends were called to his bedside for a final goodbye.
The rabbi suffered a massive coronary in April and underwent emergency bypass surgery. Two weeks later, during a follow-up exam, he collapsed and had to be resuscitated.
Less than a day later Rabbi Eliyahu suffered a mild stroke and was transferred to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem for a brain catheterization. He seemed to be on the road to recovery, but then suffered a relapse.
Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, one of religious Zionism's spiritual leaders, was born in 1929 in Jerusalem to Rabbi Salman Eliyahu, a well-known Jerusalem Kabbalist.
In 1950, Rabbi Eliyahu was among the founders of "Brit HaKanaim" ("Covenant of the Zealots"), which sought to impose Jewish religious teachings in Israel and establish a Halachic state.
In 1962 he was ordained as a religious judge, becoming the youngest religious judge in Israel.
In 1983 he was named as Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel – a position he held until 1993.