NEW YORK (Dec. 21)
The names of the five Hasidic rabbis who were killed yesterday in a highway accident near Downingtown, Pa. were released last night to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by Rabbi Nachum Yosefy, a spokesman for the Council of Jewish Organizations of Boro Park in Brooklyn. The five were Menachem Krauss, Shlomo Berkowitz, Asher Zelig Kahana, Elchanan Spiegel and Shmuel Hecht. A sixth victim, Rabbi Yosef Gootman, was reported in very critical condition in a hospital in Coatsville, Pa.
According to Yosefy, all of the victims were ritual slaughterers or kashrut supervisors. All resided in the Boro Park of Williamsburg sections of Brooklyn. The accident occurred at around 4 a.m. while they were on their way to a kosher packing plant in Lancaster County. The car in which they were riding skidded into an oncoming tractor-trailer when the car hit an ice patch at the intersection of Routes 30 and 113.
Yosefy did not know the ages of the victims. However, a spokesman for the Shomrei Hadas Chapels in Brooklyn said Krauss was 57 years old; Spiegel, 46; Hecht, 38; and Kahana, 56.