Rabbi Details 'Suffering of Biblical Proportions' After Visiting Surfside Collapse Site

A Florida rabbi recently described the scene at the Surfside building collapse site as "suffering of biblical proportions."

In a Facebook post, Rabbi Jonathan Berkun from the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center wrote, "The suffering in Miami is of biblical proportions. The waiting, not knowing, hoping and praying is torturous. Some sit silently in shock. Some weep. And some need a hug (15 months in the making) to be able to cry."

Berkun, a Miami Beach Police Chaplain, added that he saw many familiar faces who are members of the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center while visiting the site of the collapsed building.

"There were people of all ages and backgrounds. The Miami community is a tapestry of Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Argentinians, Venezuelans, Peruvians, Colombians, Israelis and more. Each one is a tribe within our Tribe; everyone is either related or grew up together," Berkun wrote. "The suffering here is profound, and it has rippled throughout the entire Miami Community. It no longer matters what language we speak, where we came from, what denomination we call ourselves or which shul we belong to. We are all connected. We are sitting in this dark pit of pain and suffering together."

Berkun added, "May all our lost loved ones be found alive. If not, may we then find a way through this devastation, somehow, together."

Throughout the post, Berkun detailed the different people he met while visiting the site, who were waiting to possibly be reconnected with their loved ones.

Last week, a portion of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, collapsed, leaving several dead and hundreds more still unaccounted for.

During a recent press conference, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said that the official death toll rose to nine and there were still 152 individuals unaccounted for.

"I want to stress, since the beginning, these numbers have been very, very fluid and they will continue to be subject to change," Cava said. "It's very important to keep in mind that these numbers are not final."

In addition to Rabbi Berkun, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz recently reported that several other Jewish leaders in the Miami-Dade area have come together to help provide support for families affected by the building's collapse.

The Times of Jerusalem also reported that at least 20 Jewish individuals were missing in the collapse. According to the Times of Israel, Defense Minister Benny Gantz recently sent a team to help with the search and rescue efforts.

"As with any national mission, the IDF and the defense establishment are ready to respond, act and assist. Every effort will be made to save lives, support the Jewish community and our friend the United States," Gantz told the outlet.

Surfside Building Collapse
Search and Rescue teams look for possible survivors in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 28, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. Giorgio Viera/Getty

Newsweek reached out to the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center for further comment from Berkun but did not receive a response in time for publication.