SURFSIDE, Fla. – Rabbi Areyh Citron stared out on what used to be the Champlain Towers South. On Monday, he learned his congregant Tzvi Ainsworth, 68, was identified as one of the dead as well as Tzvi’s wife, Ingrid, 66. “What rabbis and clergy have to do in these situations, what I find, is to just be there for the family,” Citron of the Surfside Minyan said.
Now 12 days after the collapse and demolition of the building on Sunday night, there’s a feeling of loss and emptiness. “We have to realize that God’s ways are mysterious. There is really no answer for this now,” Cintron said.
At Citron’s small synagogue in Surfside, Ainsworth prayed on a weekly basis along with Dr. Brad Cohen who is among the missing, according to Citron.
Despite the loss, Citron said he and his congregants are resilient.
“Jewish people got up from the ashes, they rebuilt, they rebuilt their families , their community and, in the bigger picture, we find God,” he said.
Citron advised, however, that Jewish law has specific protocol for burials. “The soul, according to Jewish law, doesn’t find rest until after the body is buried. It doesn’t go to its eternal place in heaven; it kind of hovers around the body,” he said.
A community rocked by the initial shock of tragedy is now bracing for the gut wrenching days ahead. Citron said he has cleared his calendar with the expectation that there will be many funerals and burials in the days ahead.
Also, Vista Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Miami Lakes announced Monday that it is donating 100 plots free of charge for any victims who may be in need.