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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

There was a devastating fire in our community this Shabbat, resulting in the tragic deaths of an elderly couple. A local Rav in the community, who leads the Shul across the street from the couple's home, spoke about the terrible happening on Shabbat morning, as his congregants tried to absorb the loss and the jarring sight of the ruined, smoking, home. He spoke very nicely about the couple, reminded the community that the couple was supportive of the Shul, even though they themselves were not Orthodox, or members of the Shul. He also reminded the community that there was no way to know why God would allow a tragedy such as this one to happen. He was very respectful to the couple, and I think it was an appropriate reaction to their loss.

Feel free to leave any thoughts on the subject or recollections of the couple in comments.

News coverage here.

39 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

wich shul is it?
and who is the local Rov?

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a kiddush Hashem to see the everyone file out of the shul and escort the deceased couple down the street (as the bodies were being taken away), although no one even seemed to know them.

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The gentleman who died had a mental disorder, causing hime to hoard all that stuff in and around his house.

I would like to know this: his neighbors, his family and possibly friends knew he had a problem, yet nobody reached out to help him.

Believe it or not, if someone called the village and made a complaint about all the debris, maybe the couple would be alive to day. This is the sad part - nobody wanted to intervene. Even if was to make a complaint, which people don't like to do, it could have saved their lives.

What a shame. Don't keep your eyes closed to everything that goes on around your neighborhood.

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orthomom,

Thank you for bringing us this story, yes, somone should have known about the papers, and yes somone could have called, I think sometimes you don't really realize the true problem until it is too late. Why in death do we come together? While in life we do everything we can to battle. Perhaps the lesson is to keep your eyes open, and smile at your neighbor, no one needs to be best friends, how we act to one another will reflect on the children we raise.

11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to the linked article and others I've read, the family tried and tried to help and they in constant conflict with the village about the safety of their home. You can try all you want. The people you are trying to help ultimately have to want to help themselves.

Maybe read the link before throwing around accusations against a neoghborhood and a family that is probably mourning their terrible loss.

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone meant harm. A lot of people do not understand mental illness. We offer our condolences.

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No harm intended. Trust me. It is sad. My child is one of the firefighters who tried to save them.

This story reminds me of another situation: children riding bikes without wearing helmets. My firefighter/medic child recently transported a child to the hospital with severe head trauma - still in a coma after 4 weeks. The doctor said a helmet would have lessened the injuries tremendously.

We have to look out for each other and not take the words of wisdom so harshly, but as a gentle reminder that we need each other in this life - and we should watch out for ones' safety and health.

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OM,what's with all the cryptic stuff? A "certain rabbi" and a certain neighborhood shul"?
What's the big deal? It's very much on public record that the fire was on Oakland Ave. in Cedarhurst. The shul across the street is the Red shul (yes everyone, THAT Red shul) and the Rabbi was Rabbi Yakov Feitman.
I know you love you hate us OM, but it's ok - no one's gonna harass you if you give us a compliment once in a while.
: )

12:28 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymous said...

OM,what's with all the cryptic stuff? A "certain rabbi" and a certain neighborhood shul"?
What's the big deal? It's very much on public record that the fire was on Oakland Ave. in Cedarhurst. The shul across the street is the Red shul (yes everyone, THAT Red shul) and the Rabbi was Rabbi Yakov Feitman.


Eh, that's just the way I do things. I rarely post specific shul names. No good reason in this case.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

so I suppose this fire wasn't made by a stove left on over shabbos or a candle left burning shabbos night?

7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"..as his congregants tried to absorb the loss and the jarring sight of the ruined, smoking, home..."

The "jarring sight" did not seem to stop the Kehilla from having a kiddush right after davening even though a meis was still in the house!

(BTW, the kiddush was not in honor of a simcha, rather a monthly shul sponsored event congratulating themselves for not talking during davening!)

9:01 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

"..as his congregants tried to absorb the loss and the jarring sight of the ruined, smoking, home..."

The "jarring sight" did not seem to stop the Kehilla from having a kiddush right after davening even though a meis was still in the house!

(BTW, the kiddush was not in honor of a simcha, rather a monthly shul sponsored event congratulating themselves for not talking during davening!)


Yes, it could be considered a bit awkward, but what do you suggest? Throwing all of the food away? People often feed guests at Shiva homes.

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

, The "jarring sight" did not seem to stop the Kehilla from having a kiddush right after davening even though a meis was still in the house!

The Kehilla offered the officers and firefighters soda and facilities throughout the morning, set up a food table for them after the massim were removed, the Rav missed the regular mussaf (he davened later with a small minyon) to assist the family, and many of the members waited after shul was over to give Kavod to the Massim before going home.

The kiddush itself was, of course, in the building, not in public view, and many did not partake. Oh and the kiddush was a monthly minhag, as it is in many shuls, for a decade before the decorum initiative was started.

It seems to me that attacking a shul is one of the bigger issurim there is (especially when the basis for the attack is absurd).

9:55 AM  
Blogger David said...

Has OM genlty revealed what shul she davens in???

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The firefighters were treated well. Thank you. They feel bad that they couldn't save the couple.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The firefighters should be very proud of their work. They prevented a horrendous conflagiration from spreading to the neighbors. The community is very greatful for that.

They also acted with care and courtesy. The shul was allowed to continue despite a very difficult situation and the couple and family were treated with great respect.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if RABONIM can't save.............(GG ?)

what do we want from fire fighters?

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if RABONIM can't(don't want to) save.............(GG ?)

what do we want from fire fighters?

11:10 AM  
Blogger David said...

11:09/11:10- what are you talking about?

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Baruch Dayan Emes. Nice to see that the community (Red Shul and others) made a Kiddush Hashem.

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WE all know Orthomom is a member of the Red Shul,...Right?

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She must be a member of Young Israel of Cedarhurst, because I received emails from them after posting a comment on this site. I have nothing to do with Young Israel of Cedarhurst.

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we know we know - you keep on mentioning it.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous ellie said...

in response to anonymous who has such hostility towards the neighbors and family who did not intervene; i moved into the house next door a year and a half ago. the people i bought the house from said they harassed the village for 30 years to do something about it. the village tried, but the law is as long as the front lawn is presentable they cannot dictate how you live and therefore, nothing was ever done. mr. fleischman spent every single day removing garbage and weeds from his front lawn because he knew then nobody can touch him. the fleischman's had 4 children, all professionals, doctors, and social workers. they have so much guilt for what happened, they said they have been trying for years to get their parents to clean up or move to a smaller place, but they were very stubborn and never listened. for the record, the fleischman's were lovely people, she worked as a babysitter in hewlett and was loved by many children. she also went to shul every shabbos, to temple beth el, where she was loved by the rabbi and congregants alike. so even though everyone had their opinion about the strange couple on oakland ave who kept their place disgusting, i had no qualms about living next door to them because once i met them they a were a lovely adorable couple with interesting things to share with anyone who would look past the garbage and listen.
as for the shul, rabbi feitman could not have done more for the grieving family. he comforted them in their time of tragedy, he guided them when they had no idea what to do next and he brought them food from the kiddush since they were here for so many hours and may have been hungry. the red shul was very respectful of the meis, walking behind them down west broadway. orthomom is right, they were supposed to throw away all the food?
i hope this helps clear things up. i got extremely angry after reading "anonymous" and how nobody intervened and had they the fleischman's would be alive today. it could not be further from the truth.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ellie:

I grew up down the block from the Fleischmans. I am the one who made that statement too. I am now 50 years old and live 2 blocks away from my family home.

And as much as you see that statement as painful, it is out of pain I said that too - so if anyone finds it offensive, please accept my apology.

As a medical professional myself, I sometimes become frustrated when people don't intervene. Mr. Fleischman was well known in Village Hall - he made his points clear about things that weren't right - just as the village made their point several times by giving out violations to him. Every time there was a meeting at Village Hall, Mr. Fleischman would call our home and both my brother and he (Mr. Fleischman) would go together. So as much as he was harrassed by the village, he harrassed back.

You are very lucky that your house didn't go up. Very lucky. Ed Koehler from the fire department said that they expected the flames to "jump".

The fire department was wonderful - and like the poster above said, saddened that they couldn't save the couple. Yes, the shul came out with food and their respects, and I am sure it helped everyone in the grieving process.

I have to work on my anger towards the loss. It was like family to my family to in many ways. My brother did help clean some stuff out and did other things for the Fleischmans - she was a teacher a long time ago.

Who knows - maybe if everyone who are dealing with this tragedy would have come out collectively one day to work on cleaning the house out with a dumpster on board, we wouldn't be talking about this today. I somehow feel there was more that could have been done.

--Michele

9:29 PM  
Anonymous ellie said...

michele, i think i spoke to you on shabbos morning. your dad works for city hall? funny.
rabbi feitman made us bench gomel, when we saw the fire from my sons bedroom window the flames were already touching his window. we have so much to be thankful for.
there are a million "could of's" and "should of's", it doesn't help. the levaya is tomorrow, and we who are grieving, and especially the family should be comforted and not know any more sorrow.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mrs. Fleischman babysat for me from time to time growing up. She was a kind, lovely woman who was extremely proud of her children's accomplishments (I think a few of them are doctors). I am truly saddened by her untimely and tragic death.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous R said...

I attend the same shul as the couple did, and i would like to express my heartfelt condolences to any family and friends who were affected by this tragedy.

-R, LHS student

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my only recollection of this fine gentleman was in the early days of the Red Shul when we were in need of a tenth man, we would ask him to join us. He stood there in the back helping us with the Minyan and never complained.
May they both rest in peace.....

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