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Chabad Center Aids in Bringing Home a Michigan Teen Who Dies While Hiking in Alaska

By 07/23/2023 11:26 AMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff


On July 17, a Jewish kid from the Detroit area passed away unexpectedly while participating in a Camp Tamarack hiking trip in Alaska.

A month into a group trip across the Harding Icefield route in Kenai Fjords National Park, 16-year-old Simon Mirkes of Farmington Hills, Michigan, fell and passed away, perhaps from heart problems.

According to park officials, paramedic attempts to revive the patient from a LifeMed helicopter failed.

The family of the dead contacted Chabad Lubavitch-Alaska Jewish Campus in Anchorage, the state’s capital, to confirm that all medical examiner procedures were carried out in accordance with halachah, Jewish law.

The body was transported from Kenai, Alaska, to Michigan through Anchorage thanks to arrangements made by Rabbi Yosef and Esty Greenberg, co-directors of the Chabad center.

The other 30 campers received local lodging, qualified counselors, and hot meals from Chabad at Camp Tamarack’s request.

In honor of the teen, Rabbi Greenberg and his colleague, Rabbi Levi Glitsenstein, organized a liturgy.

We told them that it is undeniable that their deceased friend in heaven would like to see them go on with their lives because that is the best way to bring him joy, Greenberg said.

Chabad organized a funeral procession service outside the Alaska Jewish Campus with participants from the neighborhood Jewish community before the body was transported to the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

In the 30 years that Tamarack Camps has conducted excursions to the region, Greenberg told JNS that this was the first emergency event he had heard of, with the exception of a relatively insignificant bear altercation many years ago.

Every year, campers come to Chabad for Shabbat.

Rabbi Michael Moskowitz of Temple Shir Shalom, a Reform synagogue in West Bloomfield, led the funeral service on Friday at noon.

The burial took place at Shalom Memorial Park in Livonia, Michigan. The youngster is survived by his Farmington Hills-based parents, Scott and Michelle, his sister Samantha, his grandparents, Edward and Cheryl Tunick, as well as a large extended family.


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