April 12, 2021

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World’s oldest Jew – a Kurdish rabbi – dies


The world’s oldest Jew has died in Jerusalem, purportedly aged 117. Zecharia Barashi was born in Kurdistan and came to Palestine in the 1930s. (However, it is impossible to verify his age as there were no records at the time.) Report in The Forward:

The 117-year-old Rabbi Zecharia Barashi on Tuesday left a world very different from the one he found, as Israel’s oldest resident – and the world’s oldest Jew and rabbi – passed away from natural causes at his Jerusalem home.

Barashi immigrated to pre-state Israel in 1936 from his native Iraqi Kurdistan, first laboring as a construction worker and then as a rabbi ministering to his fellow Kurds, accordingto The Times of Israel. He also founded a national organization for Kurdish Jews and worked as an educator in Jerusalem.

His longevity records were not confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records due to issues with documentations, but his claim was accepted by Israeli authorities. He is survived by 29 grandchildren, 72 great-grandchildren and 24 great-great-grandchildren.

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