The heartbreaking levaya for 4-month-old Shterna Sara Federman obm, the infant daughter of Rabbi Asher and Henya Federman (nee Shmotkin), was held Thursday at Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, NY.
The Federman family has been serving as Chabad-Lubavitch Shluchim in the Virgin Islands for the past seventeen years.
During that time, they’ve built a beautiful community on the remote island, earning them and their thirteen beautiful children, בלע”ה, the love of their community, and the admiration and gratitude of the thousands of seasonal visitors and vacationers who stream through their part of the world.
Despite the challenges of living on a remote island and of educating and caring for their beautiful children, visitors to S. Thomas and the surrounding Islands have always been awed by the Federmans’ unique warmth, hospitality and selfless assistance.
Their positive influence on countless lives can literally be felt all around the globe!
Their beautiful children, several of them studying thousands of miles from home, have always been a central part of the Federmans’ work, and are much beloved.
The family just returned to the island several weeks ago, celebrating one of their children’s full recovery after battling a life-threatening illness for almost a year.
Then, on Tuesday, an unthinkable tragedy struck.
As they stood on a pier, the Federmans’ four-month old baby, Shterna Sarah, fell in. Both parents jumped into the water, and desperately tried to save her. In the panic, Henya got stuck under the pier for an extended amount of time.
People nearby struggled to pull her out and resuscitate her. She is now on life-support fighting for her life, after being transported to Miami for critical medical care.
The baby did not survive, ר”ל, and was recovered from the water some time later.
What can we do?
Our hearts are broken. We need to continue to pray that Henya bas Bracha Devora Leah will pull through and live long healthy years together with her children, who so need her.
We, their friends and admirers, must stand with the family during their darkest hour.
The expenses are enormous, and the least we can do is help alleviate the financial burden.
Numerous airlifts, chartered and commercial flights, and care for the bereaved children have already amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Much more expense is anticipated in the coming days, and each child will require personal care and attention in this unthinkable situation.
As the family focuses on Henya’s medical care and on Asher and the children’s needs, the least we can do is alleviate their financial concerns.
All funds will be devoted specifically for the care of the family.
The fund is overseen by a group of Shluchim, classmates of Rabbi Federman, from around the world and administered by Lubavitch of Wisconsin.
Rabbi Menachem Gansburg
Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky
Rabbi Zalman Mendelsohn
Rabbi Moshe Pinson
Rabbi Motti Seligson
Rabbi Meir Shmotkin
Rabbi Yudi Steiner
Rabbi Schneur Wilhelm
Rabbi Chezky Wolff