Binyamin (Ben) Chafetz and Boruch Taub are being remembered by the Cleveland Jewish community for their devotion to their families, community and the Torah.

The two men were killed Jan. 19 in a plane crash in New York state shortly after takeoff at John F. Kennedy International Airport. They were returning to Cleveland after attending a funeral when the plane being piloted by Taub developed engine trouble and crashed about 1 mile from Westchester County Airport.

Rabbi Nissim Abrin of the Bais Avrohom shul described both Chafetz and Taub as “pillars of generosity and kindness in the community.”

As Chafetz, 45, lived around a cluster of shuls in Beachwood, Abrin told the Cleveland Jewish News Jan. 20 he was a dear friend to him and the community.

“He was a lively person, a happy person, a very outgoing and loving person, and he was somebody who was of generosity of spirit and generosity in all areas,” Abrin said. “He was somebody who welcomed others into his home and made it theirs.”

Abrin recalled Chafetz as a loving and devoted husband and father of seven children. He especially enjoyed studying with his son in the synagogue and was a man of unwavering faith who set aside time to study Torah daily, Abrin said.

While Abrin did not know Taub, 40, as well, he said he did know him as “an extremely kind man.”

“He did a lot of kindness, a lot of stuff behind the scenes, and just (had) a beautiful family,” Abrin said of Taub. “He cared about the heart of the community.”

The funeral for Chafetz began at 2 p.m. Jan. 20 at Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz Memorial Chapel in Cleveland Heights. Taub’s funeral is planned for 9:30 a.m. Jan. 22 at Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz, according to the funeral home.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the single-engine Beechcraft A36 airplane crashed after Taub reported engine issues at around 6:15 p.m. Jan. 19 in White Plains, N.Y., where it had planned to make an emergency landing on its way back to Cuyahoga County Airport in Richmond Heights. JFK and Westchester County Airport are about 35 miles apart.

New York plane crash

Search and rescue teams found the airplane shortly before 11 p.m. in the trees on a small island on a reservoir near the airport, Yeshiva World News reported.

During a press conference Jan. 20, Westchester County Executive George Latimer said the rain, thunder and lightning limited the search from the air and made visibility difficult. The plane was found after the Federal Bureau of Investigation was able to ping the cellphones to their location.

Two people are dead after a small plane bound for Northeast Ohio disappeared and later crashed while approaching a suburban New York airport Thursday evening, NBC New York confirms.

As Chafetz and Taub were both parents of students at Hebrew Academy of Cleveland, Educational Director Rabbi Simcha Dessler sent an email to the school community in which he expressed sympathy to both families.

He told the CJN in an email Jan. 20, “A double tragedy of such magnitude is a profound communal loss which naturally elicits a sense of absolute shock.”

Chafetz’s wife, Smadar, is a general studies teacher at the academy. Chafetz was the owner of 121eCommerce LLC in Cleveland Heights and a member of Congregation Zichron Chaim in University Heights.

“Ben Chafetz will forever be remembered for his unique passion and infectious energy,” Dessler wrote. “He consistently used those qualities to champion causes and support those in need. He was a supporter of the academy and was the recipient of the academy’s Mendy Klein Community Service Award.”

Chafetz received the Community Service Award at the 75th annual Hebrew Academy of Cleveland dinner in 2018.

Taub lived in Cleveland Heights with his wife, Shoshana, and their children. He was the owner of Masterworks Automotive & Transmission and a member of Ahavas Yisroel, both in Cleveland Heights.

“Boruch Taub was an academy alumnus who sought opportunities to be helpful to others in the broader community,” Dessler wrote. “He valued Torah study and always maintained a sense of appreciation for those who taught him throughout the years.”

This is a developing story.

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