B’nai B’rith International mourns, along with millions of Jews around the world, the loss of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the preeminent Sephardic spiritual leader, who passed away on Oct. 7 at the age of 93.
Yosef was one of the most brilliant and storied Jewish figures—an unsurpassed spiritual and scholarly leader to the world’s Sephardic Jews and one of very significant influence beyond the Sephardic community. He actively participated in the public life of, and service to, the State of Israel. No less, he contributed immensely to Jewish learning, the preservation of Jewish practice and the rich culture of Sephardim. He was truly an irreplaceable, once-in-a-generation figure.
The rabbi held a series of prominent rabbinical positions, serving as chief rabbi of Egypt from 1947-1950, then as chief rabbi of Tel Aviv in 1968 until he was elected Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel from 1972-1983.
Yosef also repeatedly signaled his support for peace between Arabs and Israelis, Muslims and Jews, and lent religious authority to a flexible, moderate approach in peace negotiations, despite a frequently bitter history.
B’nai B’rith International mourns the rabbi’s passing with Jews all over the world. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Yosef’s family and all those who looked to him as a teacher and guide.