Rabbi Berish Englander: Inquest finds death was accidental

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The death of a rabbi who got into difficulties and drowned in rough seas off Aberystwyth was an accident, a coroner has ruled.

Jewish Orthodox Rabbi Dov Berish Englander, 47, of Stamford Hill, north London, died in hospital following the incident on 2 August.

The inquest in Aberystwyth heard there was a high tide and the sea was "very rough", which hampered rescue attempts.

Coroner Peter Brunton recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The hearing was told that Rabbi Englander, a father of 11, had been on holiday in Aberystwyth with his family.

The Ceredigion town is a popular resort for strict Orthodox families.

On the day of his death he had gone to the beach with his son and a group of other men to observe a daily morning cleansing ritual.

Start Quote

It was rough. No-one should have been entering the sea on the day”

End Quote Pc Patrick Lawler Dyfed-Powys Police

The inquest heard he went further out into the sea than the others in the group and got into difficulty in water that was initially waist deep.

The inquest heard that one of the group tried to go in and save the rabbi but the sea was too rough.

Evidence was read from two holidaymakers from the Republic of Ireland who witnessed the incident.

David Keating and Teresa Kiely were walking along the promenade at 07:55 GMT on 2 August when they saw a group of five or six people going in the sea. Ms Kiely said it looked like they were washing themselves.

"The male went a lot further out, about waist height in the water for about five to six minutes, before a wave went over his head," Ms Kiely said.

High tide

Christopher Tapp was on his way to work when he came across the incident.

He told the inquest how he tried to throw a safety ring to Rabbi Englander but it was forced back to the shore by the waves.

Mr Tapp described the sea as rough and said there was a high tide, with little of the beach not covered in water.

Giving evidence, Pc Patrick Lawler who was also at the scene, said: "It was rough. No-one should have been entering the sea on the day."

'Loved and respected'

Evidence was also read from Rabbi Englander's wife Bila Rochel Englander.

She said her husband was a real estate director and ran a college for young men, adding that her family had been in Aberystwyth on holiday in August.

Mrs Englander said the shock and grief of her husband's death had been indescribable.

"He was loved and respected by all," she said.

"He knew how to swim. It was not an activity he did, but water was definitely not strange to him."

Mr Brunton gave the cause of death as drowning.

Mr Brunton said he had seen two other cases reported in the Jewish Chronicle of people drowning in similar circumstances.

Following his death, Rabbi Englander was described as a highly respected member of London's Orthodox Jewish community in reports in the Jewish Chronicle.

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