[COMMUNICATED] R’ Naftali Kirzner was known to have a way with words. He was an active & outgoing member of a small Jewish community in Ukraine, where he gave shiurim and translated texts from Hebrew to Russian. That’s what made it all the more worrisome when, last Thursday, members of the shul noticed that he was speaking incoherently.
Upon arriving home, R’Kirzner collapsed. When emergency responders arrived, they were unable to fit the stretcher up the elevator. And so, R’Kirzner’s wife and small children watched on in horror as neighbors carried his lifeless body down the stairwell. At the hospital was determined that he had suffered a stroke, and also tested positive for COVID. On Sunday, the 41 year old passed away. Before the stroke, he had been completely healthy.
Nearly as shocking as R’ Kirzner’s sudden passing, however, was Rav of the community Rav Shaul Horowitz’s experience upon paying a shiva call to the family. They lived in near destitute poverty. R’ Kirzner had only been making $400-$500 dollars per month. Somehow, they had been living with no working washing machine, and no stovetop. The Rav noticed as well that the fridge was completely empty. The children looked stricken by both grief & hunger.
The Kirzner’s community has made some attempts to raise funds to help the devasted family, but many live extremely simply themselves. A Chesed Fund page, together with a chilling story from the Rav, has been opened to help R’Naftali Kirzner’s widow and children have a safe and secure life without him.