Rabbi Zecharia Barashi and Nir Barkat
Rabbi Zecharia Barashi and Nir BarkatHen Kalifa

Rabbi Zecharia Barashi, who was reportedly the oldest person in Israel, passed away in Jerusalem aged 117. His wife and 3 of his 8 children died during his lifetime. He is survived by 29 grandchildren, 72 great-grandchildren and 24 great-great-grandchildren.

Barashi was born to a rabbinic family in the town of Barashi, Kurdistan in 1900, the youngest of ten children of whom seven died in infancy. He married at 18 and worked in the cloth business until he immigrated to the land of Israel in 1936 with his wife and three young children. In Israel he worked as a construction worker and gave sermons in the Kurdish Jew's synagogue. He

He was among the founders of the Kurdish Jews Association in Israel and one of the publishers of the Kurdish Jews journal which appeared in a number of volumes. From 1950 he worked in the Education Department of the Jerusalem Municipality. In 2012 he was given a "certificate of honor for a senior citizen" by Leah Ness, Deputy Minister for Senior Citizens. In later years he was recognized as the unofficial leader of Kurdish Jews in Israel.

In an interview with Arutz Sheva that year, Barashi was asked for the secret of his longevity. He answered that one should "eat with moderation, in the morning a piece of bread with water even though he doesn't always have an appetite. A person should not overindulge in foods which he likes and not eat until he is totally satiated."

Barashi will be buried on Har Hamenuchot in Jerusalem at 7 P.M. Monday.