Stamford Hill unites in mourning
Hundreds of mourners poured on to north London streets on Tuesday to witness the funeral processsion of Rabbi Nachman Sudak, the leader of Chabad Lubavitch UK for more than 50 years.
Almost 600 followers of the rabbi, who died at the weekend aged 78, gathered outside his home in Stamford Hill with his oldest son Rabbi Leivi Sudak leading the prayers through a loudspeaker.
Prayer sheets were distributed to some, while others followed the Hebrew text on their smartphones.
The funeral procession moved slowly towards the Lubavitch headquarters, with the mourners following the hearse.
They included Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis; Tony Blair's former adviser Lord Levy; and a large group of children from local yeshivot that had been closed to allow them to attend.
Curious bystanders looked on as the cortège crossed the busy Stamford Hill main road, causing traffic on both sides to be brought to a standstill.
Rabbi Leivi Sudak broke down in tears as he addressed the mourners, describing his father's "holy neshemah" (soul).
"I am not more special than any of you who are here today, but I was given the most special gift - to be my father's son," he said.
"If I ever wronged you, father, I ask for your forgiveness - once, twice and a third time," said Rabbi Sudak.
As the men gathered in the forecourt of Lubavitch House to hear prayers and eulogies, women and teenage girls stood in the street, peering through the blue railings surrounding the Chabad complex.
Afterwards, Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, director of the International Conference of Chabad Lubavitch Emissaries, said: "Rabbi Sudak was a man of great vision - he built an empire here in the UK with the expansion of Chabad's network of schools and houses."
Also present at the funeral was Stephen Pack, the president of the United Synagogue, and Rabbi Dayan Lichtenstein, head of the Federation of Synagogues.
Rabbi Sudak was buried at the Adath Yisroel cemetery in Enfield.