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Monsey Rabbi, Father of 7, Drowns in Lake Trying to Save Kids

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A New York rabbi and father of seven courageously gave his life trying to save a pair of drowning children when he was boating with his family at upstate Greenwood Lake. Rabbi David Traub, 38, of Chestnut Ridge saved both of the kids, but died in the attempt. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

By: Howard M. Riell

A New York rabbi and father of seven courageously gave his life trying to save a pair of drowning children.

Rabbi David Traub, 38, of Chestnut Ridge saved both of the kids, but died in the attempt. According to police, he was boating with his family at an Orange County lake when the incident occurred.

“He entered the water to attempt to assist the two youths,” Detective D. Jones of the Greenwood Lake Police Department, told the New York Post. “We believe they are all related.”

The kids, who were related to Traub, had leaped into the water at Greenwood Lake from a pontoon boat just before 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.

“Traub — who was reportedly head of school and synagogue at Bais Medrosh Elyon in Monsey — went in after them and eventually lost the energy to stay afloat. Police said he “submerged and never resurfaced,” the Post reported. “Authorities conducted a search for Traub’s body but had to call it off due to severe weather. They resumed Monday and were able to find him around 11 a.m.”

According to the Journal News, officers with Chaverim of Rockland, a nonprofit group of first responders, helped with the search for Traub. His funeral, as per Jewish custom, was held later in the day. The casket is being taken to Israel for burial.

Traub, “who led the school and synagogue at Bais Medrosh Elyon in Monsey, ” got them into the boat safely with the assistance of another person…then went into the water and never came back up,” Greenwood Lake Police Chief John Hansen said during a news conference .

According to dailyvoice.com, “Severe lightning and thunder in the area forced a temporary suspension of the search a little over an hour later, the chief said. It was resumed around 9 a.m. Traub’s body was found in a portion of the lake about 25 feet around 11 a.m. after being detected by sonar, responders said. The West Milford Police Dive Team and township firefighters were summoned, along with New Jersey and New York State Police and police and firefighters from the village of Greenwood Lake, he said.”

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Traub served as rosh kollel of Kollel Ruach Chaim, located at Bais Medrash Elyon in Monsey, reported Matzav.com.

Traub’s father, R’ Chaim, passed away several years ago at the age of 67. “R’ Chaim was born in a DP camp in Switzerland shortly after the end of World War II to his parents, Moshe Zev and Pessel Traube. Mrs. Traube came from a family of 11 children; she was the sole survivor. R’ Moshe Zev also came from a large family; only he and one brother survived the war,” noted Matzav.com in the obituary. “Shortly after the birth of R’ Chaim, the Traubes were able to travel to the United States, where they settled in Omaha, Nebraska. Two more daughters were born there. The Traubes raised their children with a strong sense of identity regarding their European roots, primarily as close adherents of the admorim of Ger. Indeed, R’ Chaim lived his entire life as a European type Yid, although he was raised in America.”

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