Friday, July 24, 2009

New York Rabbi dies in road accident

from the Age Mex Cooper - July 23, 2009

Respected Jewish leader dies after collision with motorcycle

An American tourist killed after he was clipped by a motorcycle at Ripponlea last night was a respected Jewish leader visiting from New York.

Yitzchok Rotenberg, 71, died suddenly when he struck his head on the road after being hit by a motorbike as he crossed Hotham Street, near the Glen Eira Road intersection.

Mr Rotenberg, a leader of a small, ultra-orthodox New York-based community, was in Australia with his wife to visit their son. He was on his way to the Adass Israel Synagogue when the accident happened about 7.10pm.

The Hasidic leader was taken to The Alfred hospital but died early this morning. His wife and son are due to fly to New York with the body tonight.

Adass Israel Synagogue spokesman Andrew Abelesz said the local Jewish community was in shock at the well-known and respected man's death.

"We're very saddened, we're extremely saddened. A man comes to visit from America and goes in such a tragic way, it's very painful for the whole community,'' he said.

Mr Rotenberg had made many close friends in Australia on visits to his son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren over the past 15 years, Mr Abelesz said.

He said Mr Rotenberg was a Holocaust survivor and a mainstay of the small Jewish township of New Square in New York.

Members of Hatzolah, trained Jewish volunteer paramedics, were first to the accident scene.

Orthodox Jewish website VIN News said the levaya, or funeral, would be held in New Square on Friday.

"Tragically, Rabbi Rotenberg lost a married daughter to illness last year; Rabbi Rotenberg became a community hero of sorts upon assuming care responsibilities for his grandchildren in the aftermath of their mother's death,'' the site said.

Mr Abelesz said the shloshim, a memorial service on the 30th day of mourning, would take place in Melbourne.

Police believe Mr Rotenberg had stepped into the path of the motorcyclist, who is helping police with their investigations.

A report will be prepared for the Coroner.


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