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Naftuli Halberstam; led Bobov Hasidic sect

NEW YORK -- Grand Rabbi Naftuli Halberstam, who took over as head of the Bobov Hasidic sect after the death of his father five years ago, died in Brooklyn Wednesday at age 74.

Rabbi Halberstam became head of the sect, which has its roots in the town of Bobova, in what is now southern Poland, after his father, Grand Rabbi Solomon Halberstam, died in 2000. The elder Halberstam was credited with reviving the sect in New York after the Nazis destroyed it during World War II.

Father and son, descendants of one of the first Hasidic leaders in Europe, escaped death at the hands of the Nazis, but family members and many sect's followers perished in the Holocaust.

After the war, Solomon Halberstam vowed to rebuild the sect, and he and his son moved with a handful of followers to New York. They settled in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn.

The Bobovs are one of about 60 sects of Hasidism.

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