On the heels of the massive tragedies that have afflicted klal Yisrael in recent months, another calamity struck this week, with the passing of three bachurim in a plane crash in Ukraine. The niftarim were Amrom Fromowitz of Monsey—who was a chasan—Hershy Weiss of London, and Eliezer Brill of Williamsburg. All three were beloved in their communities and among their friends. The pain is being felt the world over.
The plane crash took place during a bein hazmanim trip arranged by the tour group Lalechet for a group of dozens of chasidishe bachurim from the Mirrer Yeshivah in Yerushalayim, who traveled through Hungary and Ukraine.
The accident occurred at the end of the trip, after the bachurim had finished visiting the kevarim in Hungary and then crossed into Ukraine. Near the town of Sheparovtsy, they hired local pilots to take them on sightseeing flights. The small planes could only hold three passengers at a time, so the bachurim took turns going up in the air for ten-minute flights. After Amrom, Hershy and Eliezer flew off, the other bachurim waited for their return—in vain. The plane had crashed into a house in Sheparovtsy, killing the three bachurim and the pilot.
A wide variety of askanim and other individuals sprang into action as the shocking news reached the world at large. Rabbi Yossi Banda of Bayis Yehudi of the Carpathians, along with a couple of yungeleit, began working on dealing with all of the issues that had to be dealt with on the ground. Reb Hillel Cohen, who runs a summer camp in Ukraine for local boys, headed to where the bachurim were located to help them and also to deal with the Ukrainian officials.
Misaskim and Chaverim of Monsey leaders were involved in ensuring that sensitive volunteers, with training in bereavement, reached the families of the three bachurim as well as Amrom Fromowitz’s kallah before they found out about the tragedy in more jarring ways.
Two small levayos were held before the niftarim were transferred to Kiev for transport home. At the first one, Rabbi Meir Nachman Elhadad, whose two sons died in the Meron disaster and who happened to be in Ukraine, delivered a hesped. The second levayah took place in Berdichev, where the Toldos Avraham Yitzchak Rebbe is currently staying, and he delivered a hesped there.
Eliezer Brill’s levayah took place in Kiryas Yoel on Erev Shabbos; Amrom Fromowitz’s was on Motzaei Shabbos, in Monsey; and Hershy Weiss’ levayah was in London on Sunday.