American Chabad House victim laid to rest in J'lem

Thousands attend funeral of father of eight who was killed while studying Torah.

aryeh teitelbaum 88 (photo credit: )
aryeh teitelbaum 88
(photo credit: )
Thousands of haredim packed the narrow streets of Jerusalem's Mea She'arim neighborhood Tuesday for the funeral of Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum, an American Jewish resident of Jerusalem, who was killed in last week's terror attack in India. Teitelbaum, 37, was gunned down by the attackers while studying in the Chabad House in Mumbai, shortly after finishing his prayers. Teitelbaum was in Mumbai last week to help supervise a mushroom-processing plant doing a production run for a US kosher food manufacturer. The American-born father of eight was the son-in-law of the leader of the Toldot Avraham Yitzhak hassidic sect, and was related to the leaders of the Satmar hassidim, both of which are ideologically opposed to the State of Israel. The family had asked Israeli authorities not to drape his casket in the Israeli flag even though his body was flown back to Israel at the state's expense on a special Israel Air Force plane. The request was turned down. Despite his opposition to the Jewish state, Teitelbaum married in Jerusalem, resided in the city with his family, and chose to be buried there. "He saw his purpose to be a rabbi in Israel in order to continue the legacy of his family," said Shmuel Poppenheim, a friend who studied with Teitelbaum in his youth. Teitelbaum frequently traveled abroad as part of his job as a kashrut inspector, often at the behest of his father, the Volover Rebbe, Rabbi Nahum Ephraim Teitelbaum, a veteran kashrut certifier based in New York. "The bullets found him after prayer, while studying inside the Chabad House synagogue," Poppenheim said. "He died there sanctifying God's name." "He was targeted only because he was a Jew," said Ephraim Hacohen, 37, who, like many others in the tight-knit community, attended the funeral even though he did not know Teitelbaum personally. With the funeral procession area closed off to traffic by police, thousands of mourners thronged the main square, alleyways and even rooftops in the haredi neighborhood, while loudspeakers blared with the sounds of weeping. Wailing mourners recited Psalms, choking on their tears, as eulogies were delivered in Yiddish. Teitelbaum was buried on the Mount of Olives.