A beloved rabbi who was born in Cleveland, the father of seven children, apparently drowned in Greenwood Lake in New York state after helping a child who was struggling in the water on Aug. 18.
Cleveland native Rabbi Dovid Zalman Traube, 38, was on a family outing and jumped in the lake from a rented pontoon boat after a child became distressed. The child made it back safely with his help, but Traube went under and did not resurface.
A search involving teams of police, fire and rescuers, ensued about an hour later but was called off due to lightning during a thunderstorm.
The following morning the search resumed, New York State police located the body using sonar technology, according to media reports.
“He learned Torah, he loved Torah, and he lived Torah,” said his aunt, Rivka Levitansky of Cleveland Heights. “And that’s why he led such an exemplary life. He was always trying to live up to the ideals he was learning. That‘s why he was so exceptional.”
She said her nephew was caring, never angry and lived a balanced life, always striving to improve himself.
“He didn’t take anything to extreme,” she said. “Some people described him as a soft rock.”
Traube had last been in Cleveland two weekends ago with his family to celebrate Shabbos with his mother and extended family.
Traube was the son of Bena and the late Rabbi Chaim Traube. He grew up in Cleveland Heights and attended Kahl Yereim in Cleveland Heights. He attended Mosdos Ohr HaTorah (now Derech HaTorah) in Cleveland Heights, then Telshe Yeshiva in Wickliffe, Bais Binyomin Yeshiva in Stamford, Conn., and Brisk Yeshiva in Jerusalem, according to his uncle, Rabbi Ahron Levitansky.
He became rosh kollel of Kollel Ruach Chaim in Monsey, N.Y., heading a study house for men.
“He was a very highly developed Torah scholar,” Rabbi Ahron Levitansky said. “He was mentoring young men at the highest level of scholarship.”
About 2,000 people attended his funeral at Bais Medrash Elyon in Monsey on Aug. 19 and many Clevelanders were attending his shiva, Levitansky said. Traube was buried next to his father, Chaim Traube, in Jerusalem’s Har Hamenuchot cemetery.
“The Cleveland Orthodox community is very, very shook up from this,” Rabbi Levitansky said. “The Traube family was a mainstay for decades. Everybody knew them. Everybody feels for them.”
For the second time this summer, the Cleveland Orthodox community has been touched by the drowning of a rabbi. On July 9, Rabbi Reuven Bauman, a teacher and camp counselor in Norfolk, Va., was swept out to sea after trying to rescue a camper in the water at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. His brother, Rabbi Mordechai Bauman, lives in University Heights.
Rabbi Dovid Traube married Hadassah (Wolmark) of Monsey in an arranged marriage. They settled in Chestnut Ridge, N.Y.
The couple had seven children: Moshe, Tziporah, Chana, Aliza, Sorah Tamar, Zev, Chaim Mendel. In addition to his wife, his children and his mother, Traube leaves five brothers, Rabbi Sender Traube of Cleveland Heights, Rabbi Yisroel Traube, Rabbi Yehuda Traube, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok “Itchy” Traube, Rabbi Ephraim Traube of University Heights; three sisters, Tamar Traube, Tzippora Greenspoon and Aliza Inzelbuch.
Shiva takes place at 4 Hawk St., Chestnut Ridge, N.Y., until the morning of Aug. 25 with services daily (except for Shabbos) at 8:15 a.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.
Information from Yeshiva World News was used in this account.