Connecticut Rabbi Has Friends Missing in Collapsed Florida Building

NBC Universal, Inc.

Some of those unaccounted for in the Surfside condo collapse are members of the Chabad Hasidic Jewish faith, with ties to people right here in Connecticut.

The Rabbi of the Chabad House of Greater Hartford talked to NBC Connecticut about awaiting news from Florida and their prayers for more survivors.

"[For] something like this to happen, we never thought it can happen," said Rabbi Joseph Gopin.

He said it's hard to put into words the feelings surrounding the collapse.

The tragedy is personal for the rabbi because inside of that collapsed condo, and still missing, are members of his own community.

"I got very scared, very worried and unfortunately, my worries were materialized," said Gopin.

He said many members of the Chabad Hasidic faith call Surfside home. And among the missing are friends and loved ones he's known for decades.

"It’s a very popular Jewish center, drawing people from all over the world," explained Gopin.

Gopin said that here in Connecticut, all eyes are on Florida with the hope that the search teams will find more survivors. But with each passing hour, the situation becomes more bleak.

"The worries are getting, unfortunately, more than worries. Because every moment that they’re not discovered, the chances for them to survive is getting less and less," said Gopin. "The unknown is worse than anything else. People don’t know.  The fear of the unknown is even worse."

He said that right now, there's no answer for why something so terrible would happen. But as he prays to find survivors, this moment represents a divine call to action for people in every community to take a step back and remember what's important.

"Each one of us has to do some self search and improve something in our daily lives. Do more good, pray more, become a better person," said Gopin.

As the search for survivors and victims continues, the rabbi said that right now, his community doesn't have a plan to send anything to Florida. Instead, they've been asked by leaders in Surfside to pray that more people are pulled out alive.

Contact Us