Israel mourns the passing of one of its most authoritative rabbis, Rav Haim Druckman, historic leader of religious Zionism and Bnei Akiva. Born in Poland in 1932, a child who survived persecution, after the war he had chosen aliyah in the nascent Jewish state and was trained in yeshivah, quickly establishing himself as a man of spirituality and action. Among his many students is the current Head of State Isaac Herzog. Rav Druckman was 90 years old and had long been involved in the public sphere, including as an MP and deputy minister. A point of reference for several generations, to whom he imparted his lesson of “Torà ve avodà”, of study and commitment inextricably linked in building a better future. This was confirmed by the many thousands of people present this morning at his funeral ceremony, alongside the nation’s institutional and rabbinical leaders. A sign of closeness to a Master who, highlighted among others by President Herzog, “consecrated his life to the cause of the State and the Jewish people”. To recognize it, a few years ago, even the awarding of the prestigious Israel Prize.
There were many reactions, even outside Israel. “The death of the rav is a great loss for the Bnei Akiva movement and for the entire nation of Israel,” says Elyashiv Schechter, shaliach of Bnei Akiva in Rome. A figure of Teacher and leader of which he recalls “genius, strength, humility”, in addition to the fact of having been the “spiritual elevator” of thousands of students. By participating in the life of the national executive council of Bnei Akiva, as well as in “educational and spiritual consultations, joint activities with all members of the movement” and much more. A way of “guiding the way of the Torah” which is defined as “unique” in shaping a generation “loyal and devoted to its people, its Torah and its country”.
“For me, who grew up in the movement from an early age – continues Schechter – the rav was a very significant figure. I was amazed at how he was able to instill in so many chanichim the values of the Torah and the mitzvot, with so much kindness and love. On the other hand, being a very significant and influential figure in the political system where he worked for the good of the people of Israel, I learned from him that it is possible to engage in education and leave a big mark on the most important things. This is one of the reasons why I left office, ran for office and went on a mission to Rome”. Adds Schechter: “I am very saddened by the passing of Rabbi Druckman. A rabbi who has done so much for the people of Israel in all areas, a great public figure who has always behaved like a simple man. A rabbi who was above all an educator”.