BROOKLYN’S streets were filled with an estimated 100,000 Hasidic Jews yesterday for the funeral of a rabbi who was famous for his hatred of the internet.

Mourners with smartphones in their pockets were banned from touching the coffin of 95-year-old Holocaust survivor Yisroel Avrohom Portugal.

Todd Maisel

Mourners reach to touch the coffin carrying Yisroel Avrohom Portugal, the Skulener Rebbe
 An estimated 100,000 Hasidic Jews crowded into Brooklyn's streets for the funeral of the revered rabbi

Todd Maisel

An estimated 100,000 Hasidic Jews crowded into Brooklyn’s streets for the funeral of the revered rabbi
 Mourners check their phones after they were banned from taking part in the ritual while carrying them

Todd Maisel

Mourners check their phones after they were banned from taking part in the ritual while carrying them

New York police struggled to control the vast crowds and two officers were injured in the mayhem.

One suffered a suspected broken ankle when he was run over by the hearse, and another was hit on the head by a drone.

NYPD commissioner James O’Neill said: “There was a drone that came out of the sky and hit a police officer.

“The drone apparently ran out of gas and it landed on the officer’s head.”

Mourners in traditional dress who lined the streets in Boro Park surged against crash barriers, climbed lampposts and hung off balconies to get closer to the procession.

Whole blocks were shut down, with shops staying shut out of respect.

It was announced before the service that anyone with a smartphone should not touch the body or the coffin, reports The Lakewood Scoop.

Portugal was leader of the Skulen Hasidic dynasty founded by his father, and was known for denying himself a bed to sleep in or more than one meal a day.

He also battled against modern perils such as the internet and reputedly set fire to a television set each year on the eve of Passover.

One of the last surviving remnants of the pre-Holocaust generation – a leader that was deeply respected by all.

Assembly Member Simcha Eichenstein

The rabbi, known as the Skulener Rebbe, was born in 1924 in what is now Moldova and followed his father and grandfather into religious study.

The family moved to the Ukraine to escape the Nazis, then returned to Bucharest in Romania – where the Communist regime reportedly jailed the father and son for teaching Torah and helping Jewish children.

UN officials helped them flee to the US in 1960.

Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom took over as head of the dynasty after his father Eliezer Zusia Portugal’s death in 1982.

He died aged 95 on Monday surrounded by family at Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore.

The need to transport his body to Brooklyn meant the funeral could not take place the same day, as is the custom.

Assembly Member Simcha Eichenstein said: “As a community we mourn the petira of the Skulener Rebbe zatzal, one of the last surviving remnants of the pre-Holocaust generation – a leader that was deeply respected by all.

“Rabbi Portugal was a truly inspiring and special individual that we should all aspire to be like.”

He had five sons who are all rabbis and three daughters who married rabbis.

It is understood eldest son Yeshaya Yaakov Portugal will succeed him as leader.

NYPD 72nd Precinct ‏

Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Portugal, who has died aged 95, was known for his hatred of the internet and television

 Enormous crowds packed into Boro Park in Brooklyn yesterday

Todd Maisel

Enormous crowds packed into Boro Park in Brooklyn yesterday
 New York Police struggled to hold back the vast crowds

Todd Maisel

New York Police struggled to hold back the vast crowds
 Mourners surged against barriers to get closer

Todd Maisel

Mourners surged against barriers to get closer
 People also hung off balconies and peered through windows

Getty Images

People also hung off balconies and peered through windows
 It was thought to be one of the biggest ever funerals in New York

Getty Images

It was thought to be one of the biggest ever funerals in New York
 A boy climbed a signpost to take a snap - but not with a phone

Todd Maisel

A boy climbed a signpost to take a snap – but not with a phone
 Police help a young man stuck in the crowd

Todd Maisel

Police help a young man stuck in the crowd
 Mourners came from far afield to show their respects

Getty Images

Mourners came from far afield to show their respects
 The rabbi was a revered figure in the Hasidic community

Todd Maisel

The rabbi was a revered figure in the Hasidic community


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