Rabbi Shmuel David Weissmandl, a 69-year-old resident of the village of Mount Kisco in upstate New York, was one of the more than a dozen people who died from flooding that swept the New York region on Wednesday night.
Weissmandl was driving home from Rockland County when his car was caught in high water near the Tappan Zee Bridge. He was unable to exit the vehicle and evacuate, and was declared dead by the time a rescue team arrived at the scene.
At least 22 people died of the record-shattering rainfall as the remnants of Hurricane Ida passed through the Northeast. The weather caused flash flooding and power outages that trapped many people at home, shut down the New York City transit system and caused infrastructure damage in impacted areas.
It is unknown if Weissmandl drowned in the waters or suffered a heart attack while waiting for help, according to Yeshiva World News, an Orthodox news site that first reported the death.
Weissmandl was the son of Rabbi Michoel Dov Weissmandl, a revered religious leader of World Agudath Israel who helped thousands of Polish refugees and Slovakian Jews during World War II. He was also recognized as the first European Jewish leader during the Holocaust to urge Allied powers to bomb the Auschwitz concentration camp or the railways leading to gas chambers. He later founded the Yeshiva of Nitra in Mount Kisco, New York.
Son of famed rabbi among victims of New York flooding