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News Brief


A van accident that killed two Lubavitch community leaders has stunned Sydney’s Orthodox community.

Zev Simons, 51, and Rochel Simons, 48, were killed Dec. 20 when their van veered across the median strip on a major highway and plowed into a truck.

The couple, who have 10 children, were traveling to Melbourne for a wedding. None of the children were with them at the time.

The 39-year-old driver of the truck was thrown from his vehicle and died at the scene.

The truck was carrying 50,000 liters of gas, prompting emergency personnel to close the highway for more than 12 hours for fear of an explosion.

Zev Simons was a former director of Jewish studies at the Yeshiva Primary School. Rochel Simons was a teacher at Kesser Torah College and also worked at the local mikvah, or ritual bath.

Kesser Torah College’s president and principal sent a letter on Friday to the school community grieving over the “terrible tragedy took the lives of two of our beloved. We are all in varying stages of shock,” they wrote. “At KTC, we are trying to digest the monumental proportions of this heartbreaking loss.”

The couple’s son-in-law, Rabbi Yossi Cunin, the co-director of Chabad of the Hills in Beverly Hills, Calif., told the Web site: “They gave their lives to the community.”

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