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Thousands attend funeral of rabbis who drowned off Haulover Beach

Victims among group of men swept out by current, authorities say

NEW YORK – Thousands of people in New York City's Orthodox Jewish community are attending the funerals of two prominent rabbis Wednesday, a day after they drowned off Haulover Beach.

The funeral for Isaac Rosenberg, 67, was held Wednesday morning and mourners gathered in the afternoon for the funeral of Chaim Parnes, 66.

New York City police said about 10,000 people attended both funerals in Brooklyn.

According to Miami-Dade police spokeswoman Marjorie Eloi, four friends from New York went swimming shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday near Lifeguard Tower Four off Collins Avenue and 140th Street.

Eloi said three of the men were swept out by the strong current and were pulled out of the water by Miami-Dade Ocean Rescue lifeguards and an off-duty Bal Harbour police officer.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Tiago Choze said the group was swimming in an unguarded area of the beach at the time.

Rescuers performed CPR on both rabbis, who were taken to Aventura Hospital in critical condition. They were pronounced dead shortly after noon.

The third man was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center in stable condition.

Rosenberg owned Certified Lumber in New York City's Williamsburg neighborhood and was the owner and developer of several properties.

Parnes was a diamond dealer who was pistol-whipped during an armed robbery in North Miami last Thanksgiving.

At the time, Parnes told Local 10 News that he was thankful that what happened to him wasn't worse.

"If (you) take away life, (it) doesn't come back," Parnes said. "So I'm thankful for God. Today's Thanksgiving. I'm giving up big time for God."

The Miami-Dade Police Department's Homicide Bureau is investigating the drownings.

Meanwhile, Miami-Dade Fire Ocean Rescue officials is warning the public to swim in front of a manned lifeguard tower.

"Our average attendance is around 250,000 a year. Last year alone, we performed 83 water rescues," Lt. Mathew Sparling said.

Officials said the rabbis were swimming at least 300 yards from the nearest manned lifeguard tower.

"Not all our towers are manned, but the ones that are unmanned have signs that say 'do not swim,'" Sparling said.

Sparling said the men would have been advised not to go swimming if they had been near a lifeguard.

"Yesterday we were flying red flags, which basically means hazardous conditions," Sparling said. "We did have rip currents present."


About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.