Tributes paid to 'always happy' Shimon Brauer, who died on flight to New York

The 25-year-old's friends told the JC they're in shock at his sudden passing


The best friend of Shimon Brauer, a 25-year-old Charedi man who died following a suspected asthma attack on a flight from London to New York on Monday, has spoken with the JC about his “always happy, always dancing friend”.

Shulem Hanstater had known Brauer “since we were in Pampers” in Stamford Hill’s Belz community and spoke with him on the phone just a few hours before he died.

Hanstater said: “Shimon called me to ask if I could take him to the airport, I said I’d like to, but the timing is not good for me. So, instead, we had a normal chat for five minutes, and he told me about his trip to America. He was going to New York to work at a camp for people with Down Syndrome. He said he was very, very excited and he would now go to buy some food.

“If I knew it would be the last time I would talk to my friend, I would have stayed on the phone. I am still very in shock, he really was a good boy.”

Brauer would unfortunately suffer a reported asthma attack on the British Airways flight and is believed to have dropped his inhaler in a panic, collapsing unconscious shortly after.

Crewmembers attempted to perform CPR, unaware that his airways were closed.

“I saw the news when I woke up around eight in the morning on Monday,” Hanstater said.

“The first thing I did was message my friends. They didn’t know yet. Everyone was just shocked, totally shocked.

“I have a friend whose name is Tuli Zinger. Me, him, and Shimon were very good friends. We used to go out together a lot to London Bridge for a beer, and we liked to sing. When I [texted] Tuli the news, he told me he didn’t believe it. When I asked why, he said, because he was having a dream, just before he woke up, of the three of us singing together.”

Hanstater then sent Tuli a video of the three of them singing, he said: “The song I sent him was the same one we were singing together in his dream, “Da Ki Yesh Sodah”.

Brauer’s funeral was held on Tuesday evening, after his loved ones spent several hours communicating with customs officials to arrange for the release and transportation of the body, according to his friend.

Hanstater said that his friend’s father had lost a child 26 years ago: “Now he has lost his second,” he said.

“When a tragedy like this occurs in our community, all the boys of the three Belz community schools in Stamford Hill are sent to the funeral, so we had a major turnout of about 500-600 people.

“It was the first time a boy from our class had passed, and I think it was the first time since we were all at school together that I saw the whole class in one place. It was heart-breaking.

“We were all saying how strange it felt and how it hadn’t actually ‘clicked’ for any of us yet.”

Paying tribute to his friend, Hanstater added: “Shimon was always happy, dancing and smiling. He really was a good boy…Everything he said and did came from the truth of his heart.”

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