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Borough Park, NY - Street Photographer’s Blizzard Shot Captures Holocaust Survivor’s Determination To Daven With A Minyan

Published on: January 26, 2016 10:18 AM
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Holocaust Survivor Binyomin Jakubovic, being helped during the snowstorm on Jan. 24, 2016. Jakubovic a Borough Park resident for over 60 years who is currently over 90 years old and one of the oldest living survivors of Auschwitz. (Eli Wohl/VINnews.com) Holocaust Survivor Binyomin Jakubovic, being helped during the snowstorm on Jan. 24, 2016. Jakubovic a Borough Park resident for over 60 years who is currently over 90 years old and one of the oldest living survivors of Auschwitz. (Eli Wohl/VINnews.com)

Brooklyn, NY - Just days after the record snowfall that slammed the East Coast, social media has been buzzing with pictures showing massive snowdrifts, colossal snowmen and even neighbors pitching in to dig each other’s cars out of the snow, but perhaps none is as heartwarming as a photograph taken in Borough Park, showing a group of men carrying an elderly Holocaust survivor in a wheelchair home from shul.

The photo was captured by VIN News photographer Eli Wohl who spent several hours roaming the streets of Borough Park on Sunday morning looking for a unique photo opportunity when he noticed a cluster of people in the distance.

Nearing the group, Wohl saw several men carrying an older gentleman in a wheelchair through the snow covered streets.

“I started walking towards them and I started shooting and when I was done a neighbor came over and said I had captured a special moment,” Wohl told VIN News.

“She told me how the man in the wheelchair was a Holocaust survivor, with a number inked on his arm from the concentration camps, who wouldn’t give up on attending minyan even in the worst weather you could imagine.”

The man in the wheelchair was Binyomin Jakubovic, a Borough Park resident for over 60 years who is currently over 90 years old and one of the oldest living survivors of Auschwitz. 

Jakubovic’s grandson Mordechai Jacobs confirmed that his zaidy is a regular at Rabbi Menashe Klein’s shul, located around the corner from his home on 52nd Street.

“He has not missed a day in a very, very long time, as long as anyone can remember,” explained Jacobs.  “Even though he is getting older and frailer, going to shul is a very important part of his life.”

The decision to go to shul for Shachris on Sunday morning was a simple one for the elderly Mr. Jakubovic, despite the enormous mountains of snow lining city streets.

“The streets were somewhat passable so we brought him down and got some assistants,” said Jacobs. “He has an aide and a very dedicated grandson, Moshe Grosz, who has been at his side to insure that he can attend minyan.  Baruch Hashem he is lucid and his mind is very clear. He wanted to go and at that age when someone has a wish like that you don’t stop them.”

Mr. Jakubovic was born in Chust, now part of the Czechoslovakian Republic.  He and his wife married before World War II erupted and both miraculously survived Auschwitz, reuniting after the war. 

After moving to America, the couple settled in Borough Park in the 1950s and had two sons and two daughters.

Mr. Jakubovic owned a company that sold camera accessories, working until he was well into his 80’s.

“It is one of the reasons he has been healthy for so long,” said Jacobs. “He never owned a car and was always taking the subway into Manhattan, carrying heavy bags.”

Jacobs noted that his grandfather worked very hard to achieve balance in his life.

“You have to make time for your family, your parnasa and your avodas hakodesh,” said Jacobs.  “For him going to minyan and learning is as simple and natural as it is for me to breathe and sleep.”

Mr. Jacobs estimated that his grandfather is among the oldest living kohanim in Borough Park.

“He pretty much does pidyon haben all the time and is always giving brachos to people,” said Jacobs. “He is the kind of person who has nothing bad to say about anyone else and never got into a fight with anyone.”

Jacobs admitted that his grandfather has become more fragile in recent years.

“My grandmother takes care of him,” said Jacbos. “She is well into her nineties and I would say she is more vigorous than I am and I am in my thirties.”

While he witnessed unthinkable horrors in his lifetime, Mr. Jakubovic continues to live a life filled with positivity.

“He is a very, very special person,” said Jacobs. “He never saw the evil in anyone and despite all that he went through he is able to see the joy in everything.”


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Read Comments (16)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jan 26, 2016 at 10:31 AM sissel613 Says:

What a beautiful story--no wonder that his grandson is so caring--just look at the dedication this man has shown to Hashem and gave it over so beautifully to his family. Yasher Koach also to his aide who helped bring this man to shul. מי כעמך ישראל

2

 Jan 26, 2016 at 10:33 AM kenyaninwhitehouse Says:

tzadik

3

 Jan 26, 2016 at 10:40 AM anonymous Says:

This story touched my heart. What a beautiful story. May he and his wife merit to life together with Moshiach Tzidkenu bimhera beyameinu amen!

4

 Jan 26, 2016 at 11:16 AM amazed Says:

i am always amazed when i read a heart warming story like this. How is it that Moshiach doesnt come at such a time? This man was moiser nefesh his whole life to be a Jew. Mi Kiamicha Yisroel.

5

 Jan 26, 2016 at 11:20 AM sane Says:

Leading a simple balanced and dedicated life brings spirituality and contentment. An apt lesson for our overly materialistic society - where no one can have enough.

6

 Jan 26, 2016 at 11:44 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
amazed Says:

i am always amazed when i read a heart warming story like this. How is it that Moshiach doesnt come at such a time? This man was moiser nefesh his whole life to be a Jew. Mi Kiamicha Yisroel.

"How is it that Moshiach doesnt come at such a time?"

Unfortunately We (myself included) are not as dedicated to serving H'KB"H as the tzadik featured in this article. If we were all that dedicated to serving H'KB"H then a story like this wouldn't be "news".

R' Binyomin Jakubovic is the type of person I aspire to be like.

7

 Jan 26, 2016 at 11:49 AM Nachum Says:

This was a beautiful story, and the photo was fantastic, and heart warming. Ye Yasher Koach, to those menchen who carrried Mr. Jakubovic, as they indeed performed a mitzvah.
It should be noted that about four or five years ago, when there was another large snow storm in the NYC area, a VIN photographer (on the VIN site) posted numerous photos of Yidden, walking through the snow in Borough Park. I was disappointed that there wasn't a similar photo spread this time, as we can't access such photos in the mainline media, and depend upon VIN to show us life in our communities.

8

 Jan 26, 2016 at 12:06 PM Anonymous Says:

incredibly heartwarming. iyh Mr. Jakubovic and his wife should be benched with lange yurin, filled with good health and happiness. such an inspiration. such tzidkus

#7, mainline media is not interested in us. never was and never will be. just recently, the rechnitz clip posted on mainline media where he treated hundreds of soldiers to a good meal brought out hoards of anti semites criticizing him ruthlessly. don't expect recognition of our good deeds from them. it will never come.

9

 Jan 26, 2016 at 12:28 PM Chachom Says:

What an inspiration! next time I think about not going to minyan of daven later because it's "cold" etc. I will think about this person.
If anyone needs a bracha he's the one you should approach. It reminds of the statement Satmar Rav, if anyone needs a bracha just go into any shul! seek out a person putting on Tefilin with a concentration camp number inked on that arm.

10

 Jan 26, 2016 at 12:59 PM sammy Says:

As much Torah and Chesed we have in our generation, we cannot compare to the simple avoidas hashem of that generation.
---------------------
"Mr. Jakubovic was born in Chust, now part of the Czechoslovakian Republic."

For the record, the Czechoslovakian Republic doesn't exist for 22 years. Chust is actually in Ukraine.

11

 Jan 26, 2016 at 01:27 PM practical yid Says:

Sorry i disagree with all of you......this type of behavior isnt recommended and isnt what Hashem wants. Its dangerous and unhealthy. Its similar to what the Gemorah says about someone who sits in a Succah when its raining. The Gemorah tells a story how Rav Ashi responded when he was asked why he didnt come to shul........."it was too difficult for me". I dont think this mans Doctor would approve .

12

 Jan 26, 2016 at 02:38 PM jsjcbs Says:

And I give myself excuses to daven at home when it's not 72 degrees and sunny....

13

 Jan 26, 2016 at 03:02 PM grandpajoe Says:

The Bitachon of those survivors who maintained their emunah is beyond the pail.

14

 Jan 26, 2016 at 03:09 PM savtat Says:

These holy survivors are an inspiration and a mechuyav to everyone here.

15

 Jan 26, 2016 at 06:55 PM Normal Says:

Oh, he's a Cohen - explains everything. Great story.

16

 Jan 27, 2016 at 11:05 AM BubbyK Says:

Reply to #11  
practical yid Says:

Sorry i disagree with all of you......this type of behavior isnt recommended and isnt what Hashem wants. Its dangerous and unhealthy. Its similar to what the Gemorah says about someone who sits in a Succah when its raining. The Gemorah tells a story how Rav Ashi responded when he was asked why he didnt come to shul........."it was too difficult for me". I dont think this mans Doctor would approve .

And you got your medical training and degree where?

Why is going to shul dangerous and unhealthy? He was properly dressed and escorted. FYI: the greatest danger to the elderly is staying secluded, lonely and bored in their homes.

17

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