Iran Chief Rabbi Yosef Hamadani Cohen Dies at 98

Led 25,000-Strong Community for 20 Years

getty images

By JTA

Published March 31, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The chief rabbi of Iran, Rabbi Yosef Hamadani Cohen, has died.

The rabbi died over the weekend and was buried in Iran on Sunday, the Hebrew-language website Kikar Shabbat reported, citing the rabbi’s nephew bearing the same name, who lives in Israel.

The rabbi’s death was announced by the representative of the Iranian Jews in parliament, Siamak Moreh Sedgh, according to the Associated Press, which reported that he was 98.

The rabbi, who has been the head of Iran’s Jewish community since 1994, reportedly had been ill for many years.

Many Iranian Jews marked the rabbi’s death by changing their Facebook status to “our crown has been removed.”

The rabbi’s nephew told Kikar Shabbat that the Jewish community and the Iranian people respected the rabbi. He said he did not believe that the Iranian Jewish community, would break down due to the loss of the rabbi.

“I don’t believe the community will fall apart because of his death,” the Israeli Hamdani said. There are young men there who learn Torah. They are receiving assistance, but there are problems.”

The rabbi is known for his ties to the Iranian leadership. He met for the first time with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami in 2000, and later hosted him at his Yusef Abad Synagogue in 2003, reportedly the first time a president of Iran had visited a synagogue since the Islamic Revolution.

There are about 25,000 Jews living in Iran, according to the Associated Press, which makes it the largest Middle East Jewish community outside of Israel.

Read more: http://www.jta.org/2014/03/31/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/chief-rabbi-of-iran-dies#ixzz2xXgpIXiP


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.