Thousands gather in Crown Heights to mourn Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, global Jewish leader and community pioneer

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Thousands of people took to the streets of Crown Heights on Wednesday, June 5 — with thousands more streaming online via live broadcast — to mourn the loss of Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky.
Photo by Mendy Dahan/Merkos

Thousands of people gathered in Crown Heights on Wednesday, June 5 to pay their respects to Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, a beloved key figure in the local community and a pioneer of Jewish life around the world.

Rabbi Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch (the Chabad World Headquarters’ outreach division) and chairman of the International Conference of Shluchim, died on June 4 at the age of 74.

The funeral procession began at Rabbi Kotlarsky’s home on Crown Street and made its way to the Chabad World Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway before concluding at the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Cambria Heights, Queens. He was laid to rest near the Ohel of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Thousands of people came out to Chabad World Headquarters to mourn the loss of a ‘giant in the Jewish world.’Photo by Mendy Dahan/Merkos

Rabbi Kotlarsky was remembered for his unwavering commitment to the community, and as “a giant in the Jewish world.”

“I join my constituents here in Crown Heights, and Chabad shluchim throughout the world, in mourning the passing of Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky,” area Council Member Crystal Hudson posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “He was Crown Heights born and bred, and dedicated his life to spreading the Rebbe’s message in all corners of the globe.”

Hudson ended her dedication with the Hebrew phrase, “Baruch dayan ha’emet,” which translates to, “Blessed is the true judge.”

Rabbi Kotlarsky is survived by his wife, Mrs. Rivka Kotlarsky, their nine children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and numerous siblings, nieces and nephews.

Tens of thousands more people streamed the procession online via live broadcast.