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Flames of Faith

Yeruchem Landesman

The graves were still fresh as millions of viewers around the world heard Rabbi Moshe Taubenfeld of New Square express unshakable faith in Hashem, even as he mourned the murder of his wife and son in the bombing of the No. 2 bus seven years ago. Since then, he has reestablished a home with devoted wife and blended family of twenty-two children. And then tragedy struck again: his new home was entirely consumed by fire, leaving him penniless. Yet this time the decree was sweetened: no one was hurt.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Daylight is still distinguishable in New Square; soon night will fall in this upstate New York town. It is now three minutes to six. The date: Monday, the fifth of Tishrei, 2010. Five weeks ago.

It is Aseres yemei teshuvah, with its accompanying solemnity and heaviness, spiritual closeness not withstanding. Suddenly, a wild fire erupts from one of the homes on Truman Avenue. Within moments, fire fighters leap into action, but a quick look tells them that there’s not a chance of overcoming the ravaging blaze consuming the building. The family members, all of whom have emerged safely, are off to the side among the dozens of bystanders, watching with horror as everything they own turns into fuel for the flames. One person, however, is standing calm and erect, even… joyous. “We should break out dancing now,” he says to his children. “Hashem has watched over us and no one was trapped in the fire. We are all here, safe and sound.”

The last time the flames of destruction engulfed Rabbi Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld’s family seven years ago, twenty-three people were killed, including his wife Goldie and their six-month-old son Shmuli. It was on the #2 bus, loaded with worshippers coming back from the Kosel.


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