Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, former Sephardi chief rabbi and Shas leader, dies at 93

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. 

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, former chief Sephardi rabbi of Israel and the spiritual leader of the Orthodox Shas political party since its inception, died Monday at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem of complications from multiple organ failure. He was 93.

Yosef was responsible for several breakthrough halachic rulings, including allowing more than 1,000 women—the wives of Israeli soldiers who were killed in Israel’s wars and declared military fatalities whose resting places were unknown—to remarry, in a decree known as “the release of agunot”; declaring a collective recognition of the Jewishness of Ethiopian Jews; and in more recent years, ordering the Shas party to vote in favor of a law recognizing brain death as death for legal purposes.

Posted on October 7, 2013 .