Monday, September 1, 2008

Body Of Orthodox Los Angeles Man Naftoli Smolyansky Found

Lake Piru, California -- The extensive search for the body of Naftoli Smolyansky ended today when a body was located and positively identified as the missing Los Angeles Kollel student.

The 39-year-old was last seen about 6 p.m. Monday after he jumped into the lake to save his 5-year-old daughter, who had fallen into the water from a boat in which the family was sitting, authorities said. Witnesses reported that he pushed his daughter back toward the boat before disappearing into the lake. The children were wearing life vests, but their father was not, authorities said.

Hatzolah of Los Angeles had been assisting the Ventura County Sheriffs Department and park rangers, coordinating the many volunteers from nearby Orthodox communities who had come to participate in the search.

In addition to the efforts described above, numerous methods of finding the body, less familiar to the Ventura County Sheriffs Department were employed. Jews throughout the world were asked to say Tehillim and learn Torah as as Zchus that the body be found.

There are unverified reports that several "Segulahs" were tried as well, including the report on one popular Jewish blog of a "very big Persian Rabbi" writing something on a rock and dropping it in the lake, and of ten Rabbonim floating bread on the lake and marking the spot at which the bread stopped. The authenticity of this last report in particular has been questioned, since the above-mentioned practice has its origins in non-Jewish theology.

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