Rockland County Legislator Aron Wieder joined U.S. Rep. Mondaire Jones and New York State Attorney General Letitia James in paying condolences today to the family of Shragee Gestetner, one of two local men killed in the tragic stampede in Israel.
“It’s almost impossible to fathom the impact of this horrible, horrible loss,” Legislator Wieder said. “Eventually, we will get on with the daily activities of life, but Shragee Gestetner’s family will have to live with his loss forever.”
Also killed was Yosef Amram Tauber from Monsey, a 19-year-old yeshiva student making his first visit to Israel.
“Yossi Tauber was a devoted son and scholar, and his loss is also a difficult blow,” said Legislator Wieder, who knew both men. “I ask everyone to please keep the families of all who perished in your prayers.”
The condolence call, also referred to as a shiva call, came the day after the Rockland County Legislature adjourned its meeting in memory of the men and all of the victims of the tragedy.
“The untimely and tragic deaths are a blow to all people who cherish life,” Rockland County Legislator Itamar Yeger said. “Our hearts go out to all those affected, especially the families of the deceased taken long before their time.”
Rockland County Legislature Chairman Alden H. Wolfe said it was difficult to process the tragedy.
“We are all trying to come to grips with the fact that a gathering of people so joyfully practicing their faith suddenly turned into the darkest day in Israel in decades,” Legislator Wolfe said. “I offer my sincerest condolences to the Gestetner and Tauber families, as well as all the other victims’ families, and my hopes for a speedy recover for the 100-plus people who were injured.”
Shragee Gestetner, 33, left behind his wife and six children. Originally from Montreal, he moved to Rockland County after marrying. He lived in Airmont and was a Skverer Hasidic rabbinical scholar and singer who used to perform at large events; his music is included in the Apple iTunes, Amazon Music and Spotify catalogs.
Yosef Amram Tauber, 19, was from Monsey and was making his first visit to Israel to study at the Brisk yeshiva. He had graduated from a local boys’ yeshiva, Meor Yitzchok, and was known as “Yossi.” His uncle said that during the pandemic, Yossi brought food to people and made calls to others who were isolated, according to published reports.
“A day of celebration turned into a nightmare for too many families,” Legislator Phil Soskin said. “My sincerest condolences to the families, especially to our local families, who have all been left heartbroken.”
The men were among 45 people killed when a narrow, downhill pathway backed up and a stampede resulted. They were in Israel for Lag BaOmer, an annual holiday that commemorates a 2nd-century Jewish uprising against Roman rule, and were visiting the graveside of a revered rabbi.
“I want to thank Congressman Jones and Attorney General James for paying this shiva call,” Legislator Wieder said. “It’s an important way to show respect and support to the mourning family and I know the visit and their kind words meant a lot.”