Several Gur hasidim have announced that they received the blessing of their rebbe (hasidic leader - ed.) to leave the sect's Haifa community, Behadrei Haredim reported.
According to the site, anyone requesting to leave the city received the rebbe's blessing to do so.
The requests were made following a Health Ministry report regarding the air pollution in the city.
"This is the topic of conversation now in Haifa," one of the hasidim told Behadrei Haredim. "Wherever you go, everyone is talking about how Gur hasidim are leaving here. I hear they're moving to all over Israel. People are leaving, but first they make sure to find a livelihood in the new place, they don't just leave."
"You need to understand, these are people we grew up with, there are people here who have lived in Haifa for many years, married off children, and now they're leaving. That's significant."
A similar trend occurred in central Tel Aviv, where up until twenty years ago, the Gur community numbered nearly 200 families. When the city began to become more secular, the rebbe quietly encouraged his hasidim (followers - ed.) to leave the area. Today, only a few dozen Gur families still remain.