Rabbi Neil Kraft's wife Susannah Kraft Levene speaks about being unable to attend his funeral

More than a thousand people watched the online service for the rabbi, who died after contracting coronavirus


Hundreds of people watched the funeral online of a popular Reform rabbi who died after testing positive for coronavirus a week ago, his widow has said.

Rabbi Neil Kraft, 69, who died only a few weeks before he was due to retire from his role at Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue, was buried on Tuesday with his colleague Rabbi Emily Reitsma-Jurman, who conducted the funeral, the only mourner at the graveside.

The Reform and Liberal movements took the unprecedented decision last week not to allow anyone except officiating clergy to attend funerals.

Rabbi Kraft's wife of 28 years, Susannah Kraft Levene, told BBC News on Thursday night: “Honestly, among one of the many surreal moments was the realisation that we couldn’t go and see  him [in hospital], we couldn’t leave the house.

“We are in self-isolation until next week. We are not the only ones, it’s tough for many, many people.”

On the synagogue’s website, its chairman Janet Brand said that at one point during Rabbi Kraft’s funeral, more than 1,300 computers tried to access the livestream of the service.

“I think Neil would have been quietly amused to have crashed the internet,” she wrote, “and he would have been totally surprised that so many wanted to share in this moment, modest man that he was.”

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