Harry Rosenberg: Man missing in Surfside condo collapse moved in after wife's death to start afresh
Harry Rosenberg had bought the apartment just a few months ago after losing his wife to brain cancer and both parents to Covid-19
SURFSIDE, FLORIDA: Among the many still unaccounted for in the disastrous collapse of a building in Surfside, Florida, is a man whose daughter and son-in-law were visiting him. The death toll in this Miami-Dade County disaster climbed to nine on Sunday, June 27. More than 150 people remain unaccounted for at the Champlain Towers South condominium that collapsed in the early hours of June 24.
52-year-old Harry Rosenberg, as per the Los Angeles Times, is a Jewish asset manager from Brooklyn. The paper reported that he was “thrilled to host" his daughter, Malki Weiss, and her husband, Benny Weiss, from New Jersey to his new home in Surfside.
The New York Times spoke with 50-year-old Maurice Waschsmann, who described his best friend Harry, who lived in Unit 212, as “a man with a heart of gold.” Rosenberg reportedly was a deeply religious man and regularly attended the Shul, the neighboring synagogue. Waschsmann, speaking to other media outlets, said that he was still hopeful more survivors would be found, including Rosenberg. “It’s very easy to go negative, but never lose sight of hope,” He said. “But the timeframe to dig them out is critical.”
Rosenberg had bought the apartment just a few months ago after losing his wife to brain cancer and both parents to COVID-19. Waschsmann said, “He first rented an apartment on the fourth floor to see how he liked the building. He liked it so much, he bought a unit on the second floor a couple of months ago.”
Miami-Dade County property records reportedly still show Rosenberg’s condo under the name of the previous owner. The sale reportedly has not been officially recorded. But Waschsmann said Rosenberg decided to move into Champlain Towers to get a fresh start. “He loves the community down here,” Waschsmann said. “And he wanted to get out of New York.”
Rosenberg’s daughter and son-in-law, residents of Lakewood, New Jersey, are members of the township’s Orthodox Jewish community. And the locals there are distressed but not yet grieving.
“Because the community is reluctant to admit that they’re gone until they have physical proof, you won’t have the mass gatherings that you might expect,” Mayor Ray Coles said. Coles added, however, “I’m sure that all over town people are gathering together, they’re grieving together, and they’re hoping that some miracle might happen and that they’ll be found alive.”
A Lakewood rabbi and friend of the family, who asked not to be identified because the community would continue to hold out hope until there was evidence of their death, said: “Although we’re realists, in our community until we see a body we don’t announce a death.”
He said a chapter of the Orthodox emergency response organization, Haezaloh, from the Flatbush section of Brooklyn had rushed a team to Florida to assist in whatever way they could. While the rabbi had known Rosenberg from a young age, he said he was not close to Rosenberg’s daughter and son-in-law. He said they had moved from Brooklyn to Lakewood to be near the yeshiva where Benny Weiss was a student. He said Malki was one of Rosenberg’s two daughters.