US Coast Guard .
(photo credit: TONY HISGETT)
The ultra-Orthodox or yeshiva community in Norfolk, Virginia remains “hopeful for a miracle,” according to Rabbi Sender Haber of B'nai Israel Congregation, who posted an open letter regarding the status of Rabbi Reuven Bauman, who was swept out to sea last week.
“We have received encouragement and blessings for strength from the Gedolei Haposkim and some of the holiest people in our generation,” Rabbi Haber wrote. “It is our prayer that Rabbi Bauman will be found over the next few days at which point we will proceed as appropriate. Despite reports to the contrary, the family has not begun to sit shiva. We are still searching for Rabbi Bauman and davening that he will be found. It goes without saying that our Torah and Jewish Law have contingencies for every eventuality.”
He called on the community to pray.
“You can daven,” wrote Haber. “The hundreds of thousands of tefillos (prayers) from all of Klal Yisrael have given our community, the family, and our children unnatural strength during this difficult time.”
Rabbi Bauman was caught in a riptide in the Sandbridge area of Virginia Beach in the early afternoon last Tuesday. He was attempting to rescue some children who were playing in the water, when the force of the tide carried him away. A passerby who managed to rescue the youth was unable to see or save the rabbi.
According to Haber, all efforts were taken to find the rabbi by professional teams - “the Coast Guard Command Center stretched their typical time for Search and Rescue Operations beyond what is typical and well into yesterday morning.” Now, he said, volunteers and volunteer organizations have taken over the search.
Several Orthodox organizations, such as Achiezer Hatzalah, Chaveirim and Misaskim took part in rescue efforts alongside the government reams.
“It was and remains a true Kiddush HaShem,” Sender wrote.
He also said that people could act through prayer, volunteering as part of a rescue team or sending funds. He noted that no Jewish volunteers searched on Shabbat.
Further, he said, “You can avoid rumors. Misinformation about possible rescues, decisions and storylines are not helpful and can cause great pain.
“Klal Yisroel - the Jewish nation - is amazing and these past few days have brought it out," he continued. "We are all one, and we all feel each other’s pain. We act on that pain and we never forget to turn our minds and hearts to Hakadosh Baruch Hu.
“May these remarkable aspects of our community and Klal Yisroel be a zechus for Rabbi Bauman and for all of us until the day that HaShem wipes away all of our tears,” the rabbi concluded.
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