By COLlive reporter
Yehoshua Rafael HaLevi Polonsky, a young resident of Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood who united the world in prayer for his recovery, passed away on Thursday, 20 Cheshvan 5778.
He was 31.
The Cleveland-born Shua suddenly fell ill two weeks ago with acute heart failure. He has since undergone 3 open-heart surgeries.
Family, friends and fellow Jews from around the world soon joined in prayer. A social media hashtag #ShuaStrong encouraged people to do Mitzvos and share a Chassidic saying in his honor.
Women attending the Great Big Challah Bake at Chabad of West Boca Raton in Florida and in Northwest Ohio had him in mind, while Lubavitch men in Cleveland joined for a Chassidic farbrengen in his merit.
Many in Crown Heights and Australia joined Tehillim groups and students of Reed College in Portland, Oregon joined a Loaves of Love program at the Chabad House and baked challah to be distributed to fellow students in honor of a recovery.
“I, together with my family are utterly humbled, overwhelmed and deeply touched by the outpouring of love, compassion, generosity, and commitment to action that has been flooding in,” his wife Simi Polonsky wrote on October 26.
“The worldwide generosity of your hearts and your hands helps us rise above the fear and terror that creeps into the innermost depths of our raw hearts,” added Polonsky, who founded the tznius women’s fashion label Frock Swap.
Erin Stiebel, an educator at Partners Detroit Young Jewish Professionals, wrote: “I have known Shua since high school and have always been in awe of his love for life, his genuine kindness and his ability to light up a room whenever he walks in.”
Friends reported this week that doctors reviewed Polansky’s condition and said, “it was worse than they hoped and that his GI Tract looks to have gone undergone serious damage. Irreparable damage.”
“I’m in shock to hear about his loss,” Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, a licensed marriage and family therapist, told COLlive.com. “Our community has lost a great individual, father and husband. May his name be a blessing for all of us.”
Schonbuch said “Yehoshua was a fantastic and aspiring psychologist. We had wonderful conversations about his training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and his work helping other people.”
He is survived by his wife, Simi (nee Gestetner) and children Emanuella and Sophia.
He is also survived by his parents, Leonardo and Yocheved Polonsky of Cleveland, Ohio, grandparents Mel and Marcia Waxman and siblings: Rachel Polonsky, Elisheva (Polonsky) Bialo, Menachem Polonsky, Gabi Polonsky, Natalie Polonsky and Chaya Polonsky.
The Levaya will take place today, Friday, leaving Shomrei Hadas Chapels in Boro Park at 9:45 AM and passing by 770 Eastern Parkway at 10:45 AM, to burial in Old Montefiore Cemetery.
Shiva times and address for
Yehoshua Raphael Halevi Ben Hershel Leib halevi
502 New York Ave, apt 4b
Day session 10am-2pm
Night session 8pm-9:30pm
Please respect the scheduled times.
The family has requested to please share any pictures, stories and memories you may have (written stories or voice recording) of Shua to email@example.com.
Baruch dayan haemes.