The death of Dov Berish Englander who died in August while using the sea as a mikveh was “accidental”, a coroner has found.
Mr Englander, from Stamford Hill, had waded out to sea at an Aberystwyth beach to perform the ritual when he was dragged under by a large wave, the inquest heard.
The 47-year-old father of 11 shouted and waved his arms for help. The other men bathing with him had not gone in as far and managed to return to shore, despite rough conditions.
Holidaymakers David Keating and Teresa Kiely were walking along the beach at the time and seeing Mr Englander in distress, ran to get a life-ring. A witness, Christopher Tapp who joined the rescue effort said: “I went down with the ring to try to save the gentleman. I think the rope got tangled in the panic to get it out of the box, but the man was too far out and I couldn’t throw it far enough to reach him.”
PC Patrick Lawler who was also present said: "It was rough. No-one should have been entering the sea on the day."
A guest staying at a nearby hotel saw Mr Englander struggling and called emergency services. A rescue helicopter was sent and a lifeboat crew pulled Mr Englander from the water. The cause of death given at the inquest was drowning
Mr Englander was highly respected for his level of religious knowledge and his charitable work. At the time of his death Chanoch Kesselman, of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, said Mr Englander was a much-loved member of the community.
“It is sorrowful beyond words that such a young man with so many righteous attributes should depart this world in so tragic a way. The community was visibly shocked,” he said.