A Jewish student at the University of Chicago passed away over the weekend after he was seriously injured by a stray bullet on a Green Line train on Thursday
Max Lewis, z’l, 20, was critically injured by the bullet and was evacuated to the University of Chicago Medical Center.
It’s the second loss in two weeks for the small Jewish body at the University of Chicago. Ilan Naibryf was in the Champlain Towers two weeks ago when the disaster occurred and is still missing.
Baila Brackman, who runs the university’s Chabad center with her husband, Rabbi Yossi Brackman, told JTA that both students were active members of the Jewish community.
“They were precious young men whom we cared about deeply and loved deeply,” she said. “Both of them always had a huge smile. Their smiles just brightened up the room. They were very happy, kind, caring and giving. Not once did I hear them say a bad word about someone.”
Brackman said that she and her husband viewed Naibryf, who was the president of the Chabad Student Board at the university, as part of their family. “He was unapologetic about Israel and how much he loved Israel, and he wanted to make sure that students had the history of Israel,” she said. “He worked very hard to make sure there was a lot of Jewish pride on campus. He would just come into the Chabad house, just smile and say, ‘What can I do and how can I help?’”
Zach Cogan, Lewis’ best friend, said that Lewis was “the most kind person.”
“For Max, there was nothing bad you could possibly say about him,” said Cogan. “He was the best of us. He was so caring and selfless, and he never asked anybody for anything.”
“With the loss of Ilan in Miami and Max with this horrific senseless shooting, it is super unfortunate for the Jewish community of UChicago to have lost two incredible people,” Cogan said. “There are people who, in your first encounter with them, you kind of know — ‘Wow, that’s a great person.’ And Ilan and Max both had that effect.”