Rabbi Yaakov Kaufman was president of Gateshead’s Orthodox community and a teacher at the Gateshead Talmudical College. He passed away on March 31 after contracting COVID-19 during Purim; weeks later, he was evacuated to a London hospital in urgent condition.

The Kaufman home was open to all. Visitors from every background, vocation and area around the world were welcome. From rabbis to yeshivah students to fundraisers from abroad, they knew they had a place to stop or stay.

There was almost nothing in the tight-knit community that Kaufman wasn’t involved with somehow. He gained respect not only for his dedicated leadership and incessant work, but for natural humility going about it.

Kaufman was a member of the local chevra kadisha Jewish burial organization. As such, he was often tasked with preparing the deceased for burial, and on occasion, flying with the body to Israel for burial, ensuring that they were handled with the proper respect and dignity every step of the way.

“It’s so tragic,” a community member told Behadrei Haredim, “he was completely healthy ... the entire community has been thrust into mourning.”

In addition to his wife, he is survived by their children.

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