Burial of Benefactor Who 'Died Naked' Next to Revered Rabbi Riles N.Y. Hasidim

Yitzchak Rosenberg, a wealthy New York businessman, was one of two ultra-Orthodox men who drowned in Miami last week. His burial defiles the Kiryas Joel cemetery, one protester says.

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The Satmar village of Kiryas Joel, New York, in 2006.Credit: Daniel Case / Wikimedia Commons

Satmar Hasidim in Kiryas Joel, a New York village that has twice been raided by the FBI in recent months, held an unprecedented graveside protest last Thursday following the burial of a high-profile benefactor who drowned in Miami earlier in the week.

The protest was reported on the website of the local TV station News 12, Westchester. One protestor, who asked not to be identified, said that the burial defiled the holy ground of the cemetery because Rosenberg was found naked at the time of his death.

The community is reportedly also upset that Rosenberg was buried beside the grave of Grand Rebbe Yoel Teitelbaum, who is revered by the Satmar.

The businessman, Yitzchak Rosenberg, 67, was one of two ultra-Orthodox men who drowned in the sea off an isolated Miami beach on Tuesday, apparently after being caught in a riptide.  

The other fatality was Chaim Parnes, 66, a diamond dealer from Brooklyn. Two other men survived the riptide and were hospitalized.

The Miami Herald reported being told by a friend of the two drowned men that they chose the isolated and unguarded spot with "no swimming" signs posted in order not to be exposed to scantily clad women.

Rosenberg was co-owner with his brother of Certified Lumber, a building supply business. According to the real estate website The Real Deal, the Rosenberg brothers owned more than 40 Brooklyn buildings.

Their development projects included a proposed condo on the East River called Rose Plaza, which was granted a controversial zoning swap in 2011. The Real Deal reported in 2015 that the site was on the market for $250 million.

Parnes made the news in South Florida last year when he was pistol-whipped during an armed robbery by three men while on a business trip in Miami. The robbers got away with $35,000 worth of diamonds, ABC’s Local 10 News reported.

The Satmar community of Kiryas Joel has twice been searched by local law enforcement and the FBI in the past two months. According to press reports, the authorities were investigating a video that appeared to show a teacher in a Kiryas Joel school kissing a young male student.

According to other reports, Kiryas Joel schools have been targeted as part of an investigation into religious schools’ use of the federal E-Rate technology subsidy program.

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