B-H3GWzIYAEzmHVOver 5,000 people attended the Wednesday funeral of “legendary” Golders Green rabbi Elchonon (Chuna) Halpern, after he passed away in hospital at the age of 93 years.

Friends described the Orthodox leader as “charismatic and caring” this week, after he died surrounded by family following several weeks at the Royal Hospital in London suffering from kidney failure.

“He was the father and architect of the Charedi community of Golders Green,” said his long-time friend Rabbi Avraham Pinter, a leader of the Stamford Hill community who regularly worked with Rabbi Halpern.

“Over 60 years he established the community there. His influence was legendary. He was a charismatic leader who was well-loved because he really cared. Everyone knew it.”

Born in the former Czechoslovakia, Halpern came to the UK in his late teens, founding Pardes School and the Bais Shmuel synagogue before later leading the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (UOHC), the umbrella group.

“Reb Chuna was a true Tzadik, one of the last of that generation,” said an anonymous supporter. “His ahavas yisroel was felt by all who knew him. He will be missed greatly.”