‘Everyone feels as if it's their own sibling’: Lakewood couple among the missing in Florida condo building collapse
A Lakewood couple vacationing in Florida is among the nearly 100 people missing in the collapse at a condominium building in Surfside, Florida, just outside of Miami.
Neighbors tell News 12 New Jersey that the couple's names are Benny and Malki Weiss, both in their 20s, and that they left for Florida earlier Tuesday. They have not been heard from since the collapse.
Neighbors say they were visiting Malki's father at his condo in the complex. He's also missing.
A short walk away at the neighborhood synagogue, special prayers are being said for the safe return of the couple. Religious leaders say it’s now in God's hands.
The next-door neighbor of the missing couple says they just moved in a few months ago.
“My husband called me up and told me what happened, and my whole block was just shaking, shaking about it,” says Esty Goldberg.
The Surfside, Florida, region is a very popular vacation spot for Orthodox Jews, who often visit friends and family.
“Our community is very close around here,” says Goldberg. “Our houses are close together. It's like a big bungalow. Everyone's together, everybody's going crazy, everyone feels as if it's their own sibling.”
Goldberg says the young couple gave her the key to their apartment to watch over it while they were away.
“They went for vacation two days ago and they left us their key in order to bring in their mail. We don't know what happened now.”
Religious leaders in Lakewood say it’s a tragedy that affects everyone and that they will pray for all the victims.
“This is a terrible, terrible tragedy that happened,” says neighbor Yeshai. “We don't even know the extent of what's happening. We don't know what's going on. There are many families that are experiencing a lot of stress, pain and loss and we live in a close-knit community over here.”
The cause of the collapse is under investigation.