CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — Northeast Ohio communities are mourning the loss of two beloved men—Boruch Taub and Binyamin "Ben" Chafetz—who were killed Thursday night in a plane crash as they headed to Cuyahoga County Airport from New York.
According to ABC affiliate WABC in New York, their plane, a multi-engine Beechcraft A36, went missing just over 30 minutes after its 4:58 p.m. takeoff frmultiom John F. Kennedy International Airport. The men had reported engine issues and were instructed to go to Westchester County Airport.
A short time later, contact with the plane was lost and crews began searching for the plane, finding it about four hours later crashed in a wooded area near Rye Lake, around two miles from the Westchester County Airport.
The two men were found nearby, both pronounced dead from the crash.
Both Taub and Chafetz were men known by their communities as men devoted to their Jewish faith and their families.
Rabbi Nassim Abrin of Bais Avrohom in Beachwood has been consoling members of the community who have been left shocked and shaken by the sudden tragedy.
"We are in shock. We're really, really grieving this morning. We lost two of our best — amazing husbands, fathers, friends, people, pillars of our community, people that would drop anything they're doing to help someone else at any moment," Abrin said.
Taub owns MasterWorks Automotive & Transmission. We spoke to people who knew him well, and while they asked for privacy during their grieving, mentioned how loved he was to all those who knew him, and those who met him.
Abrin had the chance to meet Taub a few times and raved about the kindness he exuded.
"People knew he was a man of kindness. But I don't think people understood exactly to what extent that was because he wouldn't let it be known. People would reach out to him and he would help them," Abrin said. "Last night, people were reaching out, 'Could it be?' and just in shock. And that's his reputation and that's what we all know of him just a dear friend to everybody."
Chafetz, who owned the website development agency 121eCommerce, was also beloved by the community.
The rabbi was very close with Chafetz. The two met a few years back when Chafetz introduced himself to Abrin. He was known to have the utmost respect for rabbis, reflecting his devotion to his faith.
Abrin detailed the kind of man Chafetz was known by all to be — one who emanated warmth to all.
"Ben was just a gem of a person. Such a proud family man. Loved his family, his kids, his girls and his son," Abrin said. "He treated everybody who walked into his house like he was their brother, their child. I don't think he ever shook my hand because he greeted everybody with a hug. Just bear hug. He was full of life and always smiling."
The community who knew the two men is reeling over the loss. Others are reaching out to learn more about the two and what they stood for, which Abrin said is faith and family.
"I think if you didn't know Ben and Boruch, I think it's important to learn about them and to understand the importance of being devoted to your family and to your community. I think they're people who showed how important it is and how selfless a person can be," Abrin said.
That devotion was so strong the two stayed true to it even in their final moments, sending texts to their families when the engines began having issues, letting them know they loved them and asking for prayers.
"I think those texts that we know about now... I think that those messages really reflected upon what was the most important thing in his mind, and that was the love that he had for his family," Abrin said.
Keeping with the Jewish tradition, a funeral for Chafetz was held on Friday afternoon. Plans for Taub were not confirmed but a funeral was also expected to be held for him soon as well. The family will have a seven-day mourning period of Shiva, gathering together to share stories and grieve together.
Being so beloved, the community plans to come together as well in that mourning, comforting their families and sharing their stories of how the men impacted them.
While that happens, who Taub and Chafetz were as people will be echoed throughout the community by the legacy they've left by simply sharing in their faith and loving their families beyond measure.
"Their faith, their kindness, their devotion to family. That's their memory," Abrin said.
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