The Gerrer Rebbe, Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter, who returned last week from the United States, where he stayed for his granddaughter’s wedding, has contracted the coronavirus, Haredi news outlets in Israel reported Monday.
The Rebbe, who received the third vaccination ten days ago, on Sunday night began to show coronavirus symptoms, and Monday morning tested positive in a home test.
On Monday morning, the Rebbe did not go to Slichot in the Great Beit Midrash on Jeremiah Street in Jerusalem, and the Chassidim said the selichot without him. His office also announced the cancellation of the receptions scheduled for Monday.
The Gerrer Rebbe was born in Lodz, Poland, in 1939, to Rabbi Simcha Bunim Alter, also known as the Lev Simcha, who later became the sixth Gerrer Rebbe, and Yuta Henya, daughter of Rabbi Nehemiah Alter, his grandfather’s brother. In 1940, he was taken with his father and grandfather to Israel. He is proficient in all the volumes of the Sefer Mishnah Berura, and describes himself as a student of its author, the Chafetz Chaim, even though the latter was a “misnaged” and the founder of the non-Chassidic Musar movement.
Rebbi Alter is one of the wealthiest Haredim in Israel in general and is ranked third on the list of the richest rabbis in Israel, with an estimated net worth of between $95 million and $135 million. His wealth comes mostly from real estate investments his father made in north Tel Aviv, Arsuf (near Herzlia), and Jerusalem. Despite his wealth, he lived in an apartment in an ordinary residential building in the Chazon Ish neighborhood in Bnei Brak until 2011 when he moved to Jerusalem.
The Gerrer Rebbe and his wife have five sons and four daughters.