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Rabbi who founded Chabad in the Netherlands dies at age 85

Rabbi Moshe Yitzchak Vorst was 5 years old when his family was rounded up and sent for deportation to Nazi Germany.

Rabbi Moshe Yitzchak Vorst. Source: YouTube.
Rabbi Moshe Yitzchak Vorst. Source: YouTube.

Rabbi Moshe Yitzchak (Ies) Vorst, founder of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in the Netherlands, died on Sept. 14 at the age of 85.

Vorst was born in 1938, the son of the chief rabbi of Rotterdam. He was 5 years old when his family was rounded up and sent to the Westerbork transit camp. He spent part of his childhood in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Vorst, his father, older sister and two brothers survived Nazi persecution. His mother died in a German freight train car shortly before they were liberated by the Russians.

An engineer by training, Vorst immigrated to Israel in the 1960s to help build the Haifa port. There, he came into contact with the Chabad Chassidic movement and started his training as a rabbi.

In 1964, Vorst and his wife, Dobba, founded Chabad-Lubavitch of the Netherlands, hoping to rebuild the Jewish community. They served as community leaders of the greater Amsterdam region for almost six decades, establishing educational institutions, youth movements and synagogues.

In 2003, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands made Vorst a member of the Order of Orange-Nassau, an honor given to citizens who have made significant contributions to the country.

On July 7, Vorst was admitted to the hospital after falling ill.

He is survived by 12 children in the Netherlands, the United States, Israel, France and the United Kingdom.

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