Chacham Avraham Harari-Raful zt”l

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rav-avraham-harari-rafulIt is with great sadness that we report the passing of Chacham Avraham Shlomo Chai Harari-Raful zt”l, rov of Cong. Keter Torah in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

Chacham Avraham was a noted Sefardic Torah leader and talmid chochom who influenced many people in his lifetime.

Chacham Avraham was a talmid of Rav Ezra Attieh zt”l, who trained him and groomed him for greatness in Torah and avodas Hashem.

Chacham Avraham was a brother of Chacham Yosef Harari-Raful, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Ateret Torah in Brooklyn. They were both on board the New York-bound plane that was hijacked on September 6, 1970, by the PFLP Palestinian terrorist organization. The terrorists freed the non-Jewish passengers and held the Jewish passengers hostage on the plane for one week, after which the women and children were released and sent to Cyprus. The hijacked airplanes were subsequently detonated. The remaining 40-plus Jewish men – including Rav Yitzchok Hutner, Rav Yonason David, Rabbi Meir Fund, Rav Yaakov Drillman and the Raful brothers – and male flight crew continued to be held hostage in and around Amman, Jordan. They were later freed.

Rav Raful was a respected chacham, leaving behind a family of noted talmidei chachamim in his children and grandchildren who continue his gentle approach with all.

His students came from every walk of life and his clear and kind way left an indelible imprint on so many families.

Rav Raful was the rov of Congregation Kol Yisrael for 37 years, building up the kehillah from less than 20 families to over 300, increasing Torah observance amongst the Syrian Jewish community. Specifically, because some objected to his positive influence, Rav Raful was pressured to resign his position while he was ill. Rav Raful subsequently established Congregation Keter Torah – with a bais midrash, including an afternoon and night kollel – fourteen years ago. A core group of devoted young baalei batim followed the rov from Kol Yisrael to Keter Torah.

Rav Raful’s medical situation deteriorated and he increasingly suffered during the last seventeen years of his life.

Chacham Avraham passed away yesterday at about 3:05 p.m. The aron was flown to Eretz Yisroel, where the levaya will take place today at Har Tamir.

Yehi zichro boruch.

{Noam Newscenter}


  1. He was an extraordinary m’dakdake b’mitzvos and, like his brother shlita, would NOT compromise on HaShem:s Torah and His mitzvos. His greatness was overshadowed by his brother’s accomplishments and famethe but his were no less amazing and accomplishing. He was sadly sick for many years thus inhibiting from doing what he would have wanted to do – to some degree. His children are also amazing, amazing people. I don’t know them all but the younger ones are outstanding talmidei chachomim and marbitzei Torah! They are so besimcha — one surely may deduce that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. May haShem give them and their mother, the Rabbanit who was ALWAYS at the Chacham’s side, His infinite bracha and nichum.

  2. He was my Talmud teacher in high school back in the 1960’s. Always with a smile on his face. Usually starting the shiur with a collection while saying “tzedaka matzil memavet”. He will be missed.


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