Rabbi Yisroel ‘Skulen Rebbe’ Dies at 95

BORO PARK   Thousands of mourners will descend upon Borough Park to honor The Skulener Rebbe, Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal who died Monday. He was 95.

The Skulener Rebbe, Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal at Masbia in Boro Park. (Photo: Compliments of Masbia)

The Rebbe died at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. Doctors admitted him in early February.

Born in Sculeni, at the border of Russia and Romania, the Rebbe first came to the states in the 1960s after having survived Nazi death camps. He remained in Romania for a decade longer aiding young Jewish families and orphans, at which time, he was imprisoned for violating Romanian policy. Through the intervention of the U.S. government and the United Nations, he made his way to the states.

As a fixture of the Boro Park community, residents revered the Rebbe. He attracted many Jewish people to the community, according to close friends. The Rebbe took over the mantle of his father in August 1982. While he lived in Boro Park, he often frequented Williamsburg.

Moshe Einhorn, 56, a computer programmer who lives in Boro Park first met the Rebbe at age seven. He described the Rebbe as strong in his principles. At his wedding, 35 years ago, the Rebbe escorted him down the aisle of a Monsey school in a ceremony called  “Unterfeeren.”

Moshe Einhorn showing photos from his weding album when the Rebbe escorted him 35 years ago. (Photo: Kadia Goba)
Moshe Einhorn showing photos from his wedding album when the Rebbe escorted him 35 years ago. (Photo: Kadia Goba)

“He was happy when you were happy,” said Einhorn, who called the Rebbe a surrogate father.

Funeral Services will be held on Tuesday at 11:00 am at Skulener Bais Medrash at 1315 54th Street. After the eulogies, the procession will run down 54th Street to 14th Avenue, making a right turn on 14th Avenue towards 58th Street.

Expect road closures from 52nd Street to 61st Street, and from 12th Avenue to 16th Avenue, starting at 9:30 am.


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Kadia Goba

Former Politics Reporter for Bklyner, covering Brooklyn politics and Crown Heights/PLG/Bed Stuy. @kadiagoba


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