Photo Credit: courtesy

The venerated Rabbi Simcha HaKohen Kook, chief rabbi of the historic Hurva Synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem, and chief rabbi of Rehovot, passed away Tuesday at age 92.

The rabbi was the son of the iconic late Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, Israel’s first Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi, one of the founding fathers of Israel’s religious Zionism movement.

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He was also the driving force behind an active, successful effort to create a bridge of peace between Rehovot’s secular and religious communities.

Rabbi Kook succeeded his brother, Rabbi Shlomo Kook, in the post of Rehovot’s chief rabbi in 1980 after a tragic car accident killed the chief rabbi, his wife and two of their children. His first move was to open Yeshivat Me’or HaTalmud in the city; the small yeshiva, led today by the rabbi’s brother, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook, began with 20 students but has since become an educational home to hundreds. A yeshiva high school followed.

The rabbi also founded two yeshiva high schools and a yeshiva elementary school in Jerusalem, where hundreds more students have learned under his leadership.

Rabbi Simcha HaKohen Kook passed away after having spent several days in Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, where he was hospitalized for a lung infection.

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.