May their memories be a blessing.
The calamity in Surfside will live on as one of the worst building collapses in US history. Surfside, Florida, is home to a bustling Jewish community of roughly 5,000, more than one third of the North Beach population to be exact, and largely Orthodox in practice. North Beach, a top portion of narrow land on the Atlantic Ocean, also includes Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands, and Indian Creek. The area, once the scene of rampant anti-Semitism, including lodging slogans like, “Always a view, never a Jew,” now boasts large religious observance, with much stemming from the Shul of Bal Harbour under the leadership of Rabbi Sholom D. and Rebbetzin Chani Lipskar, and Rabbi Yair Massri, who leads the Sephardic minyan on the premises. Just blocks from the Towers site is the Surfside Minyan Synagogue, under the helm of Rabbi Aryeh Citron, where six families have been affected by the unfolding events. While the Jewish communities of South Florida are known to house retirees over 65, Surfside’s Jewish community has a median age of only 43.