Morris and Beth Faitelewicz Are Remembered at Bialystoker Synagogue

Outside the Bialystoker Synagogue this morning. Photos by Jacob Goldman.

Outside the Bialystoker Synagogue this morning. Photos by Jacob Goldman.

The Bialystoker Synagogue was packed this morning with mourners paying their respects to Morris and Beth Faitelewicz, who were killed in a traffic accident in the Catskills Monday afternoon. Yehuda Bayme, their future son-in-law, was remembered in a separate service yesterday in Riverdale.

Morris, 58, was a former auxiliary police officer, a member of the Hatzolah volunteer ambulance organization, a member of Community Board 3 and served on the board of the Hillman Cooperative. Beth, 54, was a nurse at Beth Israel Hospital. Their three grown children and Yehuda Bayme were all in the same car at the time of the accident in Sullivan County. Morris was behind the wheel when he lost control of the SUV and it flipped over multiple times. The boys, Yaakov and Avi, both attended the funeral and spoke today. Shani, who not only lost her parents but also her fiance, remains hospitalized.

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In a heartbreaking letter read by Rabbi Zvi Romm, Shani explained that the date had just been set for her marriage to Yehuda. Her parents were elated and told everyone to “save the date.” In the letter, Shani recalled a joyous weekend of family activities — boating and golfing for the first time as a group. Speaking of her parents, she said, “I wish they could be by my bedside now… I don’t know why I survived.” While they fought like most mothers and daughters, Shani called Beth her best friend.

Avi called his dad a role model who always made time for the family, even though he served so many different roles in the community. He recalled the days following 9/11 in which Morris, a first responder, came home from Ground Zero, his feet covered in white dust. “He was always rock solid,” Avi said.

Beth’s brother, Michael Pitem, remembered her infectious smile and happy, gregarious personality. His sister, Pitem said, was completely devoted to her family and community, making it all the more perplexing that “she would be taken from us.”

“I don’t think I will ever understand,” he said.

Heshy Jacob spoke on behalf of the Hatzolah Ambulence Service, where Morris volunteered for at least 25 years. Jacob noted that Morris survived an ambulence crash and continued to “perform mitzvahs,” to save lives.  Now, he told the Faitelewicz family, “You gain 1500 brothers. We have a responsibility to you.”

Shiva will be observed at the Faitelewicz home until midday Sunday.

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