MembersThe Phenomenon of the Rebbe and his Followers

A glimpse into the one of the most cloistered but influential streams of ultra-orthodox Judaism

By Avshalom Kapach | | Topics: Orthodox Jews
A meeting of rebbes and their followers Photo: Yaakov Naumi/Flash90

The current rebbe leader of the huge stream of Gur Hasidim is Yaakov Aryeh Alter.

The ultra orthodox Hasidim (literally “adherents”) form a fascinating facet of the Jewish and Israeli experience. It consists of various groups of the faithful, each group following its own “tzadik/righteous” rabbi leader.

The rabbi who leads a Hasidic group or “court,” is considered by his followers to be endowed with knowledge and powers, and is even considered by them to be a mediating figure between them and God(!). By virtue of his status and personality, the “Tzadik Rebbe” guides and directs his followers in all areas of life.

The Hasidic “courtyards” are led by family lineages of rabbis leading their adherents. Over the years such groups have sprung up around charismatic rabbis who over time become  honoured as rebbes.

The group of “Gur” Hasidism is the largest Hassidic group in the State of Israel and wields great power and influence in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish world.

Gur Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter attends a protest in Jerusalem Photo: Shlomi Cohen Flash/90[/caption]

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