Rabbi Eliyahu Zion Sofer, head of major Sephardic yeshiva, dies at 71

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

Eliyahu Zion Sofer, 71, a prominent rabbi and head of a large Sephardic yeshiva near Haifa, dies during a visit to New York.

Sofer succumbs to health complications that began last week, soon after his arrival in the United States to raise funds for his Yeshivat Be’er Yitzhak in Rechasim near Haifa, which is one of the world’s largest Sephardic yeshivas, the news site Kikar Hashabbat reports.

In a statement, Aryeh Deri, the chair of the Shas party, references Sofer’s ailing health in recent years.

“He was a true man of God who accepted his many torments with love,” Deri writes.

The statement by Deri extolls Sofer for “raising thousands of students whom he taught with devotion.” Sofer’s death is a “great loss to his tens of thousands of students and the Torah world at large,” Deri says.

Sofer’s death will be commemorated both in New York and at his funeral in Israel, whose date is not immediately known, Kikar Hashabbat reports.

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