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Former Chief Rabbi dies of coronavirus

Former Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi Doron, who was admitted to the Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem after contracting COVID-19, passed away on Sunday evening at the age of 79.

Rabbi Bakshi Doron was admitted to the coronavirus ward of the hospital last week.

The 79-year-old rabbi had come to the hospital for routine treatment, complained of coronavirus symptoms and was sent for examination. A few hours later, his test came back positive and his family went into isolation.

Prior to the announcement of his death, it had been announced that his condition had deteriorated and he was in very serious condition.

Rabbi Bakshi Doron’s funeral is expected to take place in the presence of a limited number of people, in light of the Ministry of Health’s guidelines to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The Shaare Zedek Hospital said in a statement, “Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi Doron away in the last few minutes in the department for coronavirus patients at the Shaare Zedek Hospital. The rabbi was hospitalized a few days ago after testing positive for coronavirus. The condition of the rabbi, who suffered from complex underlying condition, deteriorated during the day and despite many resuscitation efforts in the last hour, doctors had to pronounce him dead. We send our condolences to his family and his many students in Israel and around the world.”

Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi Doron was born in Jerusalem and studied at Yeshivat Hadarom, the Hebron Yeshiva, and at Kolel Kol Yaakov. In 1970 he was appointed rabbi of the Bat Yam neighborhoods and later was appointed as the city’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi. Later, he was appointed Chief Rabbi of Haifa, where he served for 18 years.

In 1993, he was elected the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel and served in that post until 2003, alongside Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu eulogized former Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi Doron who passed away after contracting the coronavirus.

“I am in deep pain – with the entire nation of Israel – over the passing of the former Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi Doron. I send my deepest condolences to his distinguished family and many students. Rabbi Bakshi Doron was an important link in the Torah chain of Sephardic scholars. His exceptional proficiency in Jewish holy and literary sources merged with his noble characteristics. He was endowed with pleasantness and warmly welcomed every person.”

“Rabbi Bakshi Doron served as a guide for all the Jewish communities, in Israel and in the world. I met him many times and was always impressed by his warm personality. For him, the teachings of Israel were considered life lessons. His essence was intelligence, tolerance and love for the people and the state.”

“Unfortunately, Rabbi Bakshi Doron was infected with the coronavirus and doctors’ efforts to save him were unsuccessful. His memory we will continue to be engraved in the heart of our people,” Netanyahu said.

The number of cases of coronavirus in Israel stands at 11,145 as of Sunday evening. Of these, 183 are in serious condition and 131 are connected to a respirator.

The death toll from the virus in Israel rose to 103 people. So far, 1,627 have recovered from the virus.