A prominent American Jewish cantor drowned on Monday after being caught up in a flash flood which struck the Ein Gedi nature reserve in the eastern Judean desert. Israel Police identified the flood victim as David Tauber of New York. He had driven to the area from Jerusalem with his wife, Heather, who was rescued after an extensive helicopter search. Staff at the Ein Gedi nature reserve said they had seen the pair enter the Nahal David gorge earlier in the day. The area had been hit by torrential rains, which caused the riverbed to flood. Tauber's body was discovered in the water later by search and rescue personnel. The couple had arrived in Israel as part of a program run by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, for which Heather works as meetings coordinator. Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents, said: "This is tragic. I don't know if warnings were issued. They drove down there yesterday with another group." Tauber, who lived in Brooklyn, was a synagogue cantor serving congregations across the greater New York area, and was resident cantor for the past two years at the North Shore Synagogue on Long Island. Rabbi David Whiman, senior rabbi at North Shore, said in reaction to Tauber's tragic death: "We are in utter shock of hearing this. He was a wonderful, sweet man, who had such a way with kids and music - it's just horrible. He was really a beautiful, deep man. He could sing the most traditional chazanut and at the same time pick up the guitar and lead services, with great modern sense of delight. He had total range." Tauber held a Masters of Sacred Music and Diploma of Hazzan from the Jewish Theological Seminary. In September 2005, he was selected by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations to sing "Hatikva" for then-prime minister Ariel Sharon at the Palace Hotel in Manhattan. Upon hearing Tauber sing, James Tisch, then chairman of the Conference of Presidents said, "Cantor Tauber's rendition of 'Hatikva' was as inspirational as when Israel won the gold in Athens." Michal Lando contributed to this report.