The deaths of two childhood friends in Hurricane Sandy has touched the lives of many in New York’s Jewish community.
Over 300 people attended the funeral of Jessica Streich-Kest, 24, and Jacob Vogelman, 23, who were killed by a falling tree as the storm hit New York on October 29.
At the time of the accident, Vogelman, a student at Brooklyn College campus, had been on one of his regular walks with Streich-Kest, whose father was ill with cancer and would call him for company and support.
Jacob’s father, Lawrence, a civil rights lawyer, said: “The words that kept being repeated at the funeral were that he was incredibly kind. He died the way he lived, taking care of others.”
Streich-Kest, a high-school teacher, was remembered by her friends for her passion for social justice and political activism.
Congressman Jerrold Nadler, a friend of Streich-Kest’s father, was among those mourning. He told news website JNS.org that her death was “particularly tragic… absolutely gut wrenching… a heartache”.
Streich-Kest was the daughter of Fran Streich, a community organiser for the United Federation of Teachers, and Jon Kest, executive director of New York Communities for Change, a non-profit organisation working to help disadvantaged New Yorkers.
Jacob’s mother was New York City housing court judge Marcia Sikowitz. Eleanora Ofshtein, another judge and a colleague of Ms Sikowitz, told JNS.org: “The housing court family is devastated, everyone who knows her is. We are all very, very sad for her.”
Ms Ofshtein added that almost all of the housing court judges in Brooklyn had planned to attend the funeral.
Mr Vogelman said: “There is a feeling of terrible emptiness… Nothing can heal. You go on with your life. The loss is something that goes on forever. Jacob’s life will memorialise him.”