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No Words of Comfort

Shimmy Blum

Is it possible for a community to find solace after two of its flames were brutally snuffed out? For the family and friends of Nachman and Raizy Glauber z”l to regain their equlibirum after experiencing the piercing loss? With Williamsburg still deeply in mourning, the community is struggling to move ahead.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

chasid“The very bad lived; the very good perished. Would that somehow there was a well from which comfort could be drawn.”

 

In a horrific tragedy that left the most insightful among us without words, it is quite telling that no less an outlet than the secular tabloid Daily News hit the nail on the head with the above words.

Over a week has already passed since a beloved young Williamsburg couple, Reb Nachman and Raizel Glauber z”l — both 21 — were killed in a gruesome hit-and-run car accident on their way to the hospital, followed by the death the following day of the couple’s first child, a boy who was delivered prematurely at the scene of the accident and is now buried near his parents in the Kiryas Joel cemetery.

Yet even as the driver of the BMW that plowed into their livery cab turned himself in to police and Williamsburg is moving into pre-Pesach gear, the shock from this tragedy that blanketed the community shows no sign of abating. “People are frozen — the news hasn’t digested yet,” remarks Rabbi Moshe Aron Hoffman of Satmar. “I’m not that young anymore, but I’ve never seen anything that hit Williamsburg like this in my life.”

Coming just one week after Purim, on the yahrtzeit of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lyzhensk ztz”l — a day widely celebrated in the chassidic world — there appears to be little solace for those who knew the young couple, their families, and Klal Yisrael as a whole.

A young, happy couple — married just over a year — looking forward to the most joyous occasion of their life, was wiped out in an instant on the corner of Kent Avenue and Wilson Street — along with their baby-in-waiting. Reb Nachman was the oldest child of a prominent Satmar family from Monsey. Raizy was the youngest child of the Silberstein family from Williamsburg. Her father Reb Yitzchok is a respected talmid chacham who learns Torah a full day.

“Raizy was too good — too happy — not to be here anymore,” one of the young woman’s closest friends tells Mishpacha.

A neighbor of the Glaubers, Reb Shulem Brach, says that the tragedy is all the more painful due to the impeccable qualities of the young couple. Reb Shulem sighs as he recounts walking out of the Satmar shul on Clymer Street on Motzaei Shabbos, seeing the couple waiting outside their home for the fateful taxi ride — and reminisces about Reb Nachman. “How do you say ‘eidel yingerman’ in English?” Reb Shulem asks.

Although he had only been living in Williamsburg for a short time, Reb Nachman managed to make a tremendous impression on the community. He was a prized member of a local Satmar kollel, renowned for his outstanding middos and diligence in learning.

Mrs. Yides (Wertheimer) Fischer, who grew up in the same apartment complex as the Silbersteins, was visiting her parents this Purim, when Reb Nachman along with some other yungeleit popped into her parents’ apartment in spirited dancing. One member of the family who didn’t recognize him asked him who he was. “Vus iz ah nafka mina (what difference does it make)?,” Reb Nachman quipped. “Ich bin ah Yid vus lernt(I’m a Jew who learns Torah).”

Yet Reb Nachman’s pride in his own Torah learning didn’t stop him from thinking about and helping others. Reb Shulem Brach mentions that when a newlywed ger tzedek recently moved into the neighborhood, Reb Nachman not only took it upon himself to organize funds for the convert and arrange for a yeshivah, but also personally went along with him to purchase a tallis.

Raizy Glauber’s friend similarly recounts the young woman’s exceptionalmiddos complementing her unique refinement, yiras Shamayim, together with her positive, upbeat nature. She knew Raizy since third grade when she was a new girl in school; it was Raizy who came over to her and made her comfortable. “She always made sure to speak to girls and women she felt were being ignored by others and invited them to events.”

 

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