Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

6 Ellul 5762 - August 14, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











WTC Victim R' Avrohom Zelmanowitz, Hy"d, Buried in Jerusalem
by Betzalel Kahn

Last week World Trade Center victim R' Avrohom (Abe) Zelmanowitz Hy'd was brought to rest in Jerusalem, shortly after his remains were identified by forensic experts.

R' Zelmanowitz, 55, who was an active member of the chareidi community of Brooklyn, worked as a computer programmer on the 27th floor of one of the Twin Towers. When they came crashing down last September 11th, he stayed in the office after the planes rammed into the buildings, in order to help paralyzed co-worker Ed Beyea. When Beyea's nurse rushed to assist him to evacuate, R' Zelmanowitz told her to leave the smoke- filled building immediately, promising he would remain with his wheelchair-bound friend until help arrived. The two were classified as missing for many long months.

Although R' Zelmanowitz was on a relatively low floor and could have fled to safety, he refused to abandon his non- Jewish colleague, ignoring entreaties by his family, firefighters and policemen speaking to him by cell phone.

Zelmanowitz' heroic effort to save his co-worker turned into a great kiddush Hashem in the U.S. when the story received wide media coverage. President George Bush even chose to mention his valiant act during a ceremony held for the victims of the disaster. Four days after the tragedy, the American president asked the American people to remember the extraordinary behavior of the Orthodox Jewish computer expert who had worked at an insurance agency on the 27th story of one of the towers.

Recently his family received a letter from an observant Jewish co-worker who survived the attack. "I just wanted you to know," he wrote, "that Abe often did this kind of chesed. He was an example to all of us of how a Jewish ben Torah relates to his fellow man."

Like most of the victims of the World Trade Center disaster, R' Zelmanowitz' body was not found until recently. When New York Health Services representatives notified family members the DNA test was positive, they decided to bring the body to Eretz Yisroel as stipulated in the will and to bury it on Har Hazeisim in Jerusalem next to his parents' graves, in the plot that he bought for himself some two years ago. Both of his parents were originally from Yerushalayim.

The levaya left from the Rozhin yeshiva in Jerusalem.


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