Levayos Held for 3 Bachurim Killed in Ukraine Plane Crash

boys killed plane crash ukraine
The plane carrying two niftarim arriving at JFK airport Friday.

Levayos for the three bachurim killed in the tragic plane crash on Wednesday in Ukraine, were held in Ukraine, the U.S. and U.K.

Amram Fromowitz, z”l, of Monsey, Eliezer Brill, z”l, of Williamsburg, and Yisroel Zvi (Hershy) Weiss, z”l, of London, all talmidim of Yeshivas Mir-Yerushalayim, were killed Wednesday along with their pilot, when the small plane they were flying in crashed into a home in Prykarpattia, western Ukraine.

A levayah was held Thursday in Kolomaya, Ukraine.

Reb Meir Nachman Elchadad from Yerushalayim, who lost two sons in the Meron tragedy on Lag BaOmer, spoke at the levayah, offering chizuk to the friends of the bachurim. The levayah then moved on to Berditchev, Ukraine, where the Toldos Avraham Yitzchok Rebbe, shlita, who is staying in the area, gave a hesped.

boys killed plane crash ukraine
View of the levayah Thursday in Kolomaya, Ukraine. (Hillel Cohen – Kiev)

The niftarim were then flown to London and New York, respectively, for kevurah, arriving Friday afternoon, thanks to efforts of a number of chesed organizations.

Eliezer Brill

Eliezer Brill’s levayah was held before Shabbos, and kevurah was in Kiryas Joel.

Eliezer was remembered as a stellar talmid, whose hasmadah, yiras Shamayim, and chassadim made him an example to those around him.

“He was a self-made man. He wasn’t born a masmid or an oved, but he worked on himself constantly and never gave up,” said a friend. “He grew into one of the biggest masmidim in the yeshivah, never wasted a minute and somehow found time to do a world of chassadim. He was a real role model that other bochurim could look up to and learn from.”

Eliezer was the son of Reb Yidel and Mrs. Chana Brill. His paternal grandfather, Harav Michoel Brill, serves as rosh kollel of a kollel in Williamsburg.

Eliezer studied in Satmar Mosdos, under the leadership of the Satmar Rebbe, Harav Aaron Teitelbaum, shlita. By the time he had reached Yeshivah lTzeirim, he already stood out for his great dedication to limud Hatorah. A rebbi recalled that Eliezer was not satisfied to go away from a blatt Gemara with a superficial understanding and would invest tremendous efforts until he felt he had a clear understanding of the sugyah at hand.

Eliezer traveled to Eretz Yisrael where he continued his studies at Yeshivas Kochav M’Yaakov, Tchebin, in Yerushalyaim. There, he continued his alyiah, spending hours in the beis medrash. Rising early, he was often the first to begin learning in the morning hours.

On Shabbosim and other times when most use extra time to relax, his hasmadah did not slacken. As others headed for their beds after the daytime seudah, Eliezer would return straight to the beis medrash, immersing himself in his Gemara.

Eliezer set aside time to study sifrei mussar and Chassidus to guide him in avodas Hashem, completing Mesilas Yesharim several times. He was also fond of learning the sefer Bas Eyin and the writings of his great-grandfather, Harav Shmuel Krauss. Eliezer would regularly spend time making cheshbon hanefesh and setting new goals for himself.

Placing a great emphasis on tahras hanefesh and shmiras eneyim, he once pulled out of a dirah that he was slated to live in for the z’man when he heard that one bachur in the apartment had a smartphone.

Not content to focus only on his own growth, Eliezer sought regularly to give chizuk and to encourage his fellow bachurim to strive for greater heights in Torah and avodah.

Despite his great dedication to learning, Eliezer invested energy in doing much chessed for others. He served as a gabbai for Satmar’s kupas chassanim and on several occasions raised money for other bachurim who needed avreichim to learn with them privately.

“People might think it was unusual that the biggest masmid also ran around doing chassadim for people,” a friend said, “but Eliezer was a true eved Hashem, so it made no difference what he was doing as long as he felt it was what Hashem wanted from him.”

Hershy Weiss

The levayah of Hershy Weiss was held Motzoei Shabbos, from his parents’ home in Golders Green, London.

One of four children of Moishe and Reizy Weiss, a well-known family in Northwest London, Hershy was recalled at the levayah as being unique in his goodness of heart, a baal chessed, loving and caring. A relative said that not only did he always have a smile, but if you saw him in the distance, you would start to smile, too.

As a child, Hershy attended Talmud Torah Tiferes Shlomo in Golders Green and then Yeshivas Torah v’Yirah d’Satmar in Stamford Hill, before moving on to Mir.

Hershy was very serious about his learning and davening. He was always the one to prepare the shul for Yom Tov, or to organize some help to clear up the shul after Shabbos. When he couldn’t find exactly the chaburah he wanted in the Mir, he organized it himself, gathering together a group of boys and finding a maggid shiur, yet not taking any credit for it.

The Weiss family are chassidim of the Toldos Avrohom Yitzchak Rebbe, with whom Hershy was close. The family said they saw the yad Hashem every step of the way; with the Rebbe in Berditchev delivering a hesped and saying kaddish, the family received chizuk and nechamah.

In his hesped on his son, Mr. Moshe Weiss expressed emunah and gratitude to Hashem for having had a son like Hershy. He said that Hashem had looked into the pardes and chosen the best fruit. This theme was repeated at the shivah. Many people had walked into the shiva, very sadly and unsure what they would find, only to leave inspired by the tremendous emunah shown by the family, despite their grief. Both parents said that they have no complaints or anger toward Hashem, only thanks that they had the merit to raise Hershy over the last 20 years, and for the nissim which they saw over the past few days. Speaking at the levayah, Mr Weiss urged parents to tell their children, openly in words, that they love them, no matter what.

Rabbi Baruch Schwartz, Hershy’s rosh chaburah, also spoke at the levayah, via phone from Eretz Yisrael, and shared a story that exemplified the sort of person Hershy was. Rabbi Schwartz said that at the end of the zman, there was a general siyum on Meseches Bava Kama, and that some of the boys were also making their own siyumim. Hershy began to prepare for his own siyum, but then realized that one of his close friends had not completed the masechta and would not be making an individual siyum. He immediately changed his plans, saying that it wasn’t worth it to make a siyum if it would cause even a small amount of distress to another boy.

Hershy was buried in the Enfield Beis Olam.

Two years ago, Hershy had been a counselor in camp, where he struck up a friendship with Yechiel Yosef Rothschild, z”l, a special-needs camper who was sadly niftar at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The family was surprised and touched to discover that the resting places of the two young men are near each other.

Amram Fromowitz

The levayah of Amram Fromowitz was held Motzoei Shabbos at the Vizhnitzer beis medrash in Monsey. The Vizhniter Rebbe of Monsey had been in Boro Park on Shabbos for a family simchah, and rushed back to Monsey immediately after Shabbos to participate in the levayah.

Per the Vizhnitzer minhag, there were no hespedim. But the niftar’s grandfather, Harav Avraham Alter Fromowitz, the Tzalzheimer Rav, spoke at the kevurah in the Vizhnitzer cemetery in Monsey, where Amram was laid to rest next to his great-grandfather, Harav Moshe Eliezer Fromowitz.

Rav Moshe Eliezer was a well-known figure in Vizhnitz; he had the task of being a shomer on Friday night for the sainted rebbe the Ahavas Yisrael, so that the rebbe could learn by candlelight. (Learning by candlelight on Shabbos is assur, lest one inadvertently tilt the candle, unless there is a shomer.) The Ahavas Yisrael promised Rav Moshe Eliezer, “You watched over me in this world, so I’ll watch over you in the next world.”

Now, amid the wails of hundreds of mourners, Rav Avraham Alter asked the niftar to seek out his great-grandfather, who in Shamayim is surely next to the Ahavas Yisrael, great-grandfather of all the Vizhnitzer Rebbes, and ask him to be poel that all the tzaros of Klal Yisrael should end.

Rav Avraham Alter also spoke about how when one goes to a doctor, undergoes a painful surgery and takes bitter medication, he still appreciates the doctor, knowing that the difficulties are all for the purpose of making the patient better. Despite Rav Avraham Alter’s own recent health difficulties, and having one son with ALS and another (Amram’s father) recently partially paralyzed from a stroke, in addition to the many tzaros Klal Yisrael has recently suffered, the grieving grandfather declared that we still love Hashem and appreciate all He does, even when we don’t understand his ways.

He also urged the crowd to be makebal to improve in v’ahavta l’reacha kamocha.

Yehi zichram baruch.

 

Videos below show Reb Meir Nachman Elchadad speaking at the levayah in Kolomaya, Ukraine:

 


Updated Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at 5:09 pm .