By Anshel Pfeffer, July 30, 2009
The arrest of leaders of the Halebi community in New York and New Jersey sent shockwaves through the Sephardi Orthodox party, Shas, in Israel.
While numerically the Halebis are one of the smaller Sephardi groups, their financial clout is inordinate.
Rabbi Ovadia Yossef and other Shas leaders have regularly visited the Halebi communities in New York, Sao Paolo and Mexico City to give sermons and fundraise.
Rabbi Ovadia has been close to the community for over six decades. While he was born in Baghdad, his late wife, Margalit, was the daughter of a respected Halebi family.