The Death Of A Dream – Aaron’s Tragic Life

[Reader Submitted] On June 14, 2011, at approximately 7:10 pm, the Broward County sheriff responded to a report of suicide.  According to the police report, when the sheriff arrived at the scene Aaron Tabachnik, age 24, was being administered CPR on a bed by Ms. Debreo, a registered nurse practitioner, on the right side and Roberta Tabachnik on the left side doing compressions on his chest. A black handgun was observed by the officer on the lower left corner of the bed near Aaron’s legs. The statement his mother made to the officer is that Aaron shot himself in the heart. His mother, also a registered nurse, along with Ms. Debreo attempted CPR but it was too late to save him.

Friends and family have raised doubts about the facts as presented by Mrs. Tabachnik to the officers and in court. Mrs. Tabachnik, Aaron’s mother, was well aware that Aaron was severely depressed. Yet, this mother of three, a nurse, had the poor judgment to keep not one but two guns in her house. A black 9mm Taurus pistol and a grey Bursa pistol were seized by the Broward sheriff’s department as evidence.  

Aaron’s father, Moshe Tabachnik, lives in Israel. When Moshe Tabachnik learned about his son’s death, a call was placed to ZAKA, an organization that deals with end of life issues based out of Israel, and immediately they were on the phone with their contacts in America. Moshe and his daughter Hila flew from Israel to be present at Aaron’s funeral. It was then that he learned that the tragedy would be compounded. Aaron’s mother, seemingly acting upon her stated desire for revenge against her ex-husband, had ordered an open casket funeral and made arrangements for Aaron’s body to be cremated.  This is in direct opposition to Jewish law which considers cremation or any violation of a body to be a desecration of the deceased.

When Moshe asked, “Why do you dishonor our son?” Roberta answered with malice, “Hitler should have burned your entire family and turned their bodies into ashes. That’s the ending they deserved. Then I wouldn’t have to deal with your crazy son.” It clearly appears that Roberta is more interested in harming and causing anguish to Moshe than honoring their son.

In this time of grief and mourning, the mother of the deceased is focusing on hurting her ex rather than bringing proper closure to the family. Aaron was born Jewish, given a Bris Mila (circumcision) and had a proper Bar Mitzvah when his parents were still married. But now, after a bitter divorce, it is more important for Roberta to trample on the faith that Aaron held so dear by giving him an open casket funeral and cremating him. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to continue with Aaron’s long held Jewish traditions and give him a proper Jewish burial?

Although Mrs. Tabachnik is well aware that cremating a body is against Orthodox Jewish beliefs and that it creates endless pain and suffering for the soul of the deceased, she is clearly determined to carry out her plan for revenge. She is claiming, without any prior indication from Aaron, that he really did want to be cremated, a fact which cannot be corroborated. This claim cannot be taken at face value. After all, we know that she is doing all she can to pain her husband and disregard Jewish tradition in this extremely difficult time.

Moshe Tabachnik challenged the cremation order in order to spare his son’s body the indignity of being turned into ashes, as Hitler did to his family in Nazi Germany. In the meantime, Aaron’s body is in the freezer, waiting for the judge to make the final decision about how to best honor the deceased. Aaron has already suffered so much pain in his young life. Should his soul suffer the indignity of cremation, of being burned to ashes because of his mother’s desire for revenge against her ex-husband?

Please help Chesed of Florida and the Chevra Kadisha (Jewish Burial society) to prevent this travesty.  Chesed of Florida along with other organizations has set up a website at which includes a petition, further information and video. If you are a Jew or a friend of the Jewish People, or simply a person of strong conscience, your help is urgently needed. Please visit the website to sign the petition and forward this email to your friends and family.

One final note, as of September 1st 2011, Aaron’s body has been languishing in a morgue freezer for 75 days! Please help disseminate the above information via the secular media and social media so that pressure can be brought to bear on the the parties involved to allow this meis mitzva to receive a kosher kvura  so that his neshama can get the peace that it so desperately seeks. Tizku L’mitzvos

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  1. #1:
    I believe the halacha is that unless he made a public declaration Toch Kedei Dibbur that he knows what he is doing and is doing it anyway, we assume that he was insane b’geder shoite and is not responsible for his actions, and also that he might have done teshuva at the last instant. It’s in Shulchan Aruch at the end of Yoreh Dea but I do not have one available right now.

  2. #3 you are right the halacha that one who commits suicide does not get a jewish buriel is when the person is in his right mind and kills himself for example hes in a situation like Madoff or President nixon was in so he kills himself out of convenience he doesnt want to face the charges and embarrassment, but when one commits suicide out of depression we say he was not in his right mind

  3. i know this case well. Rabboisai, please do a chesed shel emes and spread the word via emails and social media. If you have any contacts in the goyishe press please reach out to them. Its mamesh a meis mitzva. The mother donated Aaron’s skin to science. This mother will not stop at anything to see that Aaron is cremated. Please do what you can during these holy days of elul to help a yiddishe neshama find some menucha

  4. This is a HORRIBLE story. Can you please send out a mass email for everyone to sign the petition? Why should it matter where he lives?? He has a Jewish soul that is in terrible pain R”L. Every Jew is entitled to a Jewish burial and by signing the petition, you can help! You can also make a donation on This is a meis mitzvah! The poor boy had such a miserable life, bringing him to the point of taking his own life (or was possible murdered R”L), let us at least end his suffering.

  5. I have a problem with this story, first, when doing cpr you are supposed to do it on a hard surface like the floor, not a bed, his mother is a nurse she should have known this, his mother is a very bitter person to upset the family like this, this whole story just doesn’t make any sense, I am not jewish but i will sign the petition every soul has the right to a proper buriel.

  6. The reason why this is on this website is because we are all brothers and required to take care of each other. I happened to be very familiar with this case. There is very good chance of winning here.the lawyers are working probono. But there are lots of legal fees which are draining the askan who is taking care of this .PLEASE PEOPLE, INSTEAD IF KVETCHING/ SIGHING, COULD EVERYONE READING THIS TAKE A FEW BUCKS AND SEND IT IN .this poor kid in Florida, such a zisa boy, who suffered so much needs our help. What an elul Zechus! The Aibishter is screaming out. My kinder where are you!!!

  7. If I were the secular judge who will rule on how Aaron’s remains are to be disposed, I would rule in favor of the burial sought by the father (assuming the facts presented in the article). A desire for burial in this case is based on strong religious conviction. A desire by the mother for cremation apparently is not, and the secular reasons that favor cremation, while understandable, are relatively minor. Her apparent motive – revenge – is not recognized as having any validity in law. It is almost astounding that she would be in an actual litigation over the issue of cremation vs. burial.

    I do have a question, and I ask forgiveness for my ignorance of Jewish belief on this topic. I do not happen to be Jewish, and I read this site daily as a way of learning and understanding Jewish beliefs. In the case where a Jewish decedent is cremated through no fault of his own, and against his own plans and arrangement, why would this result in the “endless pain and suffering for the soul of the deceased”? Aaron, by the above account, appears not only innocent of any plan for cremation but possibly innocent of having a hand in his own death. Are the souls of those murdered by Hitler, as mentioned above, thought to be endlessly suffering because they were murdered by fire instead of being murdered by other means and then buried?

  8. Jeff, Thank you for caring. The souls murdered by Hitler, may his evil name be blotted out, are considered to be extremely holy because they were killed for no other reason than the fact that they were Jews. Their cremations were not their choice. Cremation by choice is a violation of Jewish law.
    Something about this story is fishy. The mother is obviously deranged. Aaron is a victim of his mother’s vindictive obsession. She and the other nurse should lose their licenses for performing CPR improperly. CPR on a soft surface is useless; you’re compressing the bed not the chest.
    Did the coroner determine if the death was actually a suicide? Don’t most suicides shoot themselves in the head and not in the chest?
    Also, Aaron was an adult. Why was he living with his evil mother instead of living with his father? This whole thing just doesn’t add up.

  9. true his mother is who she is, but i wonder if she could get in trouble of how she’s reacting to this situation. it’s obvious she doesn’t care about her son’s needs.
    i don’t know the boy and his family, but it make me feel so bad. i pray that his body will not be cremated. that is just aweful. if his mother really truly cares about her son, then she’ll do the right thing. i hope someone steps forward and takes action in getting the right thing done.

  10. i went to the link and there are 2 youtube videos. the second one is from a “jonathan ginsburg”, a famous conservative rabbi.

  11. Something tells me that the mother killed him… its not that easy to shoot your self in the heart and pull the trigger. Usally when someone shoots them selves they put the gun to theyr head. So i feel like she killed him to revenge on her ex husband. and no way in hell should they let her cremate him.

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