(photo credit: CRAIG PRESTON)
Yair Shapiro, the 40-year-old hiker who fell to his death Tuesday afternoon while hiking near the Dead Sea during the Passover vacation was buried on Wednesday evening at Kfar Nachman Cemetery in Ra’anana.
Shapiro, originally from Livingston, New Jersey, grew up in Ra’anana and was living in Jerusalem and working at the Hebrew University.
“I moved to Israel five years ago from America and am part of the singles Anglo community in Katamon, and we would always attend the same Shabbat events and I would always see him,” friend Erica Schachne told The Jerusalem Post. “What really struck me was how friendly he was. He was a very inquisitive person and was interested in a variety of topics. He would always speak to people at length and he really took a genuine interest. He is someone that you could speak to and have in-depth conversations with.
He always had a smile on his face,” she said.
Schachne added: “I think everybody in the community will really miss him. It is not only a loss for his family, but a loss for his friends. He really was a member of our community and it is a big loss for us.”
Friends also took to social media to honor Shapiro, with one friend describing him as “always friendly, always smiling.”
“On our hike yesterday, we tragically lost our dear friend, Yair, a wonderful, sweet, good spirited man of goodness who only had lots of love for his family, friends, and everyone around him,” a friend shared on Facebook.
Another friend described Shapiro as a “friendly, intelligent guy, an academic who loved to discuss history and more, and never got to marry and set up his own family.
My heart also goes out to the people who were on the hike, 14 English speaking olim who must be very traumatized right now,” she said.
Shapiro was touring Nahal Og, near the Dead Sea in the Judean Desert, when he fell from a trail along a 50-meter cliff into the valley below.
Volunteer rescue teams from the Megilot-Dead Sea district were called to the scene only to pronounce his death.
Passover’s intermediate days, or Hol Hamoed, see hundreds of thousands of visitors tour the country each year, enjoying its national parks, nature reserves, and forests.