The second to last Jewish victim identified in the rubble of the collapsed building at Surfside, Dr. Brad Cohen, z’l, was buried on Tuesday. Estelle Hedaya, originally from Brooklyn, is still missing and appears to be the last Jewish victim still unaccounted for.
Dr. Brad, 51, was sleeping at the condo the night of the collapse with his brother, Dr. Gary Cohen, z’l, after visiting their elderly parents that evening. He left behind his wife of 20 years, Soraya Cohen, and their two children, Elisheva, 12, and Avi, 14, who were staying at another apartment in Miami Beach on the night the building fell. Avi was on a trip to Israel when the disaster occurred and hurried back to Florida upon hearing the news.
Dr. Brad, z’l, became interested in Yiddishkeit during medical school and began learning Torah every day. He eventually established a fully observant home with his wife Soraya, and his commitment to frumkeit influenced his parents, Morton and Deborah Cohen, and his older brother Gary, who also became frum.
“Every time I sat with him, which was many many times, our conversations inspired me,” Shul of Bal Harbour Rabbi Sholom Lipskar said during the levaya, as reported by the Miami Herald. “He took me into a space that is exclusive, only held for special people.”
Cohen was an orthopedic surgeon and founder of Aventura Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in North Miami and Miami Beach.
Arutz Sheva spoke to a member of the Surfside community, Tzali Kamisar, who said that that he davened at the same shul with Dr. Brad, z’l, and attended shiurim with him.
“The community here experienced a catastrophe of a magnitude never seen before,” Kamisar said. “We passed the coronavirus relatively easily, we had almost no casualties compared to other large communities. But our Three Weeks came in one fell swoop and the destruction and collapse of the building will stay with us for a long time.
‘We have orphans here who have lost both parents, friends who have lost children. The community here will live under the shadow of the event and we hope that Hashem will give us the strength to get through it and move forward.”
An update from Miami-Dade Country on Wednesday evening stated: “97 victims have been identified, including 96 victims recovered from the collapse and one victim who passed away in the hospital, and 97 families have been notified. 242 people are accounted for. We believe there is one victim not yet identified.”
“At this step in the recovery process it has become increasingly challenging to identify victims, and we are relying heavily on the work of the medical examiner’s office and the scientific, technical process of identifying human remains. This work becomes more difficult with the passage of time although our teams are working as hard and as fast as they can.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)