Hurricane Sandy Uproots Tree that Kills Two Brooklyn Jews

October 30, 2012 7:22 pm 33 comments

New York: Thousands Without Electricity as Hurricane Sandy Recovery Begins . Photo: Mr. Choppers.

A tree knocked down amid Hurricane Sandy killed two Jews in Brooklyn on Monday night while they were walking a dog, the New York Observer reported.

Jacob Vogelman, 23, and Jessie Streich-Kest, 24, growing up were part of synagogues in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn—Vogelman attending Congregation Beth Elohim (Reform), and Streich-Kest attending Kolot Chayeinu (progressive)—reported the Forward, which identified Vogelman and Streich-Kest as a couple.

Vogelman and Streich-Kest were found dead in Brooklyn’s Ditmas Park neighborhood. Streich-Kest was a teacher at Bushwick High School for Social Justice, and Vogelman was studying at Brooklyn College.

“Jessie loved life and was deeply devoted to social justice,” Kest family spokesman Jonathan Westin said in an email statement, according to the Observer.

33 Comments

  • Lawrence Kulak

    dee Gee.

    The Shoah was a different situation because it may have involved collective guilt which is something that we are not qualified to really assess because the sources do say that each individual is responsible for him/her self. Nevertheless, if you read the part in this week’s Torah portion about the destruction of Sodom we see that Avraham was content to stop arguing with G-d once he was told that G-d would not destroy the city if there were ten righteous souls there. The number Ten cuold stand for a minion which would be necessary to assuage G-d not to destroy the city. If there were less than ten righteous souls who could pray together, perhaps that remnant should choose to leave in order to protect themselves. Apparently even Avraham could not content with that logic. So you see, unless your slate is entirely clean, you shouldn’t undertake anything dangerous like remaining in Sodom or walking your dog at the height of a category one Hurrican.

  • Lawrence Kulak

    I wish to respond to Mr. Halibi since I view his response as the most intelligent and sincere. It is PRECISELY because this is a solemn time that the truth must be told so that these two souls will receive their jst tikkunim. They have no doubt strayed – what goes on in these Synagogues is nothing more than a refutation of the Mesorah that began at the time of Moses and which continues and Baruch Hashem will continue until the Messiah arrives. People have a tendency to think that all you have to do is believe in G-d on your own terms and that everything is ‘copasetic’ in the heavens because you may be a ‘good’ person and that is what really counts. Well the truth is, EVERYBODY is a good person deep down, and if you don’t believe me you can listen to all those defense lawyers who try to spare their clients from the death penalty argue to the jury about the mitigating circumstances of the crime. It wsa the forerunners of Christianity that preached that all you have to be is a good person and the law then becomes irrelevant. Well, the fact is that if you are Jewish the law is highly relevant and it would be good if somebody could document just how much of the law is practiced by these Reform and Progressive so all Synagogues. I would venture to guess that it would be a very small percentage. But the critical thing is not what you do but what you aspire to do. Many Orthodox people are sinners no doubt in many ways, but they remain affiliated with a discipline that aspires to the fulfillment of the law. Their deficiencies and hypocrisies will be paid for later. But at least they know if they are sinners, and if so would likely have better sense than to tempt the heavenly forces of justice to take their souls before they had a chance to repent.

  • Lawrence: You need a lesson in HUMANITY……if that is what you have taken from our “Book”, you need much more that “davening” to help you. You need a heart!!!
    and “Sechel”. Yes, indeed it was probably foolish for them to be outside….but to make it a religious issue.
    Who needs to understand what? Me thinks you do!!

    • Lawrence Kulak

      Listen shmort,

      If I want to make something a religious issue that is entirely my prerogative. Sometimes G-d wants you to comment on the phenomena that you see. If you knew the Bible, you would understand that that is exactly what Joseph did and it angered his brothers. They must have been politically correct like you (lehavdil. And I’d rather follow Joseph’s lead than yours any day – even if I knew who you are.

  • Lawrence- u r some kind of fool

  • So how did their frumkeit help the Jews of Europe during the Shoah?

  • For Lawrence Kulak.
    I totally agree with you concerning the Two types of synagogues, which in realpolitik is not halachically true Judaism. However putting that aside for now, because now is not the time for you to discuss the semantics of how people choose to interpret their religion. These two unfortunate souls were out walking their dog when terrible weather struck, causing their untimely demise by a fallen tree in the storm which has hit New-York. What made you you think that it was so necessary to bring up this subject at this solemn time in criticising the ‘Reform & Progressive Synagogues’ I don’t agree with that that form of Judaism, however, if that is what some people choose so be it, You don’t have to pray there.

    Judaism when such catasrophic weather has gripped the USA.

  • Robert M S Schwartz

    Antisemite Hurricane: it kills Jews, too, not only ordinary people …

  • Ignorant, offensive attitudes like yours are also “made up ones”–they certainly weren’t taught to anyone by God @ Har Sinai.

    BTW, God does indeed, protect people who do foolish things—not that doing something reckless makes someone deserving of sudden death.

  • Lawrence Kulak, your comment is reprehensible. These people were Jews and the Kadosh Baruch Hu was protecting them. However, they did something that wasn’t very smart, given the circumstances. Perhaps that was their problem, not HaShem’s removal of protection because they pray at a goofy synagogue. We have an obligation to keep ourselves away from sakana. I know young men in my community, after the Kadosh Baruch Hu had preserved them safely, they had to leave their homes and community to look around and see for themselves the drama and devastation. That is foolish and flirting with sakana. Baruch Dayam Emet for this young couple whose lives were taken so early.

  • Esther Sarah Evans

    b”H

    Barukh Dayan HaEmet – also for the doggie? No word about him/her. If alive, sheHASHEM yerachem veyeazor. May HASHEM have mercy and help, if the dog is still alive.

  • wow lawrence, or whoever you are, whats wrong with you? who are you hashem? what do you know about who shld or shldnt be saved. get away from your close minded bubble. you truly are a sad individual. I feel bad for you. may these two people rest in peace…prayers fr their families!!!

  • Lawrence,I too am observant, but must say that your words are totally inappropriate. May their families be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

  • Lawrence, I have pity on you. May Hashem protect you and lead you to clarity. THINK BEFORE YOU SAY SOMETHING SO IDIOTIC!!! They were two innocent souls taken in a tragic way. Some introspection will do you some good before making hurtful comments.

  • Ross Australia

    A sad sad story indeed, my condolences go out to the families of these victims. However this has become a major headline on my news feed, and I have read another comment from Lawrence Kulak who just mentioned other religions as “Made Up”. Now I’m not a religious person but why has this story made Major news, as many other “non Jews” have died around the globe and continue to die more horrific deaths. Someone please enlighten me to why I should care about a few Jewish people dying, whilst they should have been taking the advice of authorities to stay indoors. I am wondering if these people had the same views as your man Kulak, if this is the case maybe this is a bit of social justice being played out by the hands of Mother Nature?.

  • Peter from Australia

    I do find the heading in the news article, given what is being reported, inappropriate and offensive. Why must they be referred to as ‘Jews’. If they were Catholic, Baptist or Anglican there would be no reference to their religion.
    They are 2 human beings just like the rest of us who were clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time. May they rest in peace. Mr. Lawrence Kulak needs to rethink what he has said in this place given what has happened to the 2 souls. What is the relevance of where they practice their faith got to do with what has happened to them in this severe storm.

  • Lawrence…..you sound pretty ignorant, hateful and very Pat Robertson like. I happen to be religious and I guess it sounds like what you were alluding to was if they belonged to an orthodox way of life hashem would’ve protected them?

  • Richard Hampton

    This is dreadful news of the devastation and loss of life due the onslaught of H Sandy, however why do you headline the religious nature of these people, they are 2 PEOPLE, 2 HUMAN BEINGS that have met there demise! What next 2 Catholics, 2 African Americans, 2 First Nations??????

  • Why Jews? What’s so significant about the fact they were Jews?

  • does it make a difference if they are jews or muslims or atheists ??? two people died ?!! WHAT THE HELL MEDIA ??!

  • I went to Hebrew school with a Vogelman perhaps Daniel. Sad story.

  • Lawrence, it really really doesn’t work your way

    • Lawrence Kulak

      Pem, how on earth would you know? In order to see any manifestation of G-d in your life you first have to believe in him.

  • Baruch Dayan Ha’Emet

  • Lawrence Kulak

    may these two souls rest in peace and receive their tikkunim in the Olam Ha Emet. Not trying to play G-d, but the two types of Synagogues from which these people are from are sometning other than real Judaism. You simply can’t dilute a G-d given religion (as opposed to the other made up ones) and expect G-d to protect you when you do something stupid like go out in the eye of a storm. It just doesn’t work that way unfortunately.

    • To Lawrence:

      while i dont attend those types of synagogues, i think your comment is both stupid and judgmental. Where do you come off making the assumption that the reason why they dies was due to lack of protection based on where they prayed?
      it is this that idealistic thinking that i know why g-d does and why he punishes that is the core reason for the attacks from religious extremists.

    • The one great, unknowable, creator, is not overly worried about the exact type of Synagogue these poor souls attended. From half a world away, we are so grateful to see less death and devestation than a super storm can bring. Our prayers are with you all.

    • Rashi Rosenzweig

      Baruch dayan emet…

      PS: Dear Lawrence: Kindly STFU. Thank you.

    • of course, the article’s headline is ill-advised, poorly written & borderline offensive, too.
      For one thing, it makes it sound as if a hurricane uprooted a tree that had killed two Jews—God’s punishing the tree, perhaps?

      And when will “we” learn that specifying which people were Jews, in a situation involving a large group of victims, comes across as shockingly insensitive, & gives credence to charges that Jews care only about our own. To those who’re interested, the victims’ names—Vogelman & Streich-Kest—& references to their synogoue affiliations, would’ve sufficed to convey that they were Jewish.

      Mentioning it in the headline, even in a Jewish-interest publication—sounds insultingly parochial—like referring to 9/11 as “a horrible incident in which terrorists killed my neighbor’s son-in-law”.

    • I understand where you are coming from, but similar tragedies have happened to Orthodox Jews as well. And I have learned that it is really not appropriate to judge why bad things happen to others. Each person can do his own personal soul-searching and self-reflection on why tragic events happen to him, but it is inappropriate for others to judge what happens to someone else. It is all beyond our understanding and it is not our place to judge. Baruch Dayan ha’emet.

    • Your comments are disgusting and vile. At least you have almost a year to do tshuva for the disgust you portray. You correct about one thing. You are not G-d. The chilul Hashem you just perpetrated far outweighs any other comments. You have no idea about these people’s middos or anything about them. Thanks for portraying you total ignorance of Judaism.

    • how dare you

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