Thousands of mourners attended a funeral in Bnei Brak on Sunday night for a father who died of heart failure just days after burying his infant son.
The Weiss family suffered a double blow over the past week. Their five-week-old son Israel was found dead in his crib in the home of his nanny in Bnei Brak on Thursday in what authorities have called a case of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
The infant was rushed to Maayanei Hayeshua Hospital in the city, where doctors were forced to pronounce him dead.
The boy was buried that same day.
On Sunday, in the early afternoon hours, just three days after the funeral, his father, Yitzhak Meir Weiss, 31, lost consciousness and collapsed as he sat in mourning in his home.
Rescuers who arrived at the home attempted to resuscitate him, but to no avail. He was rushed to Sheba Medical Center, where he was declared dead of heart failure.
Weiss was educated at the Mir Brachfeld yeshiva in the city of Modi’in Illit, a religious seminary affiliated with the larger Mir yeshiva in Jerusalem, where he was ordained a rabbi. He worked as a political activist for the United Torah Judaism party, and was part of the team managing the party’s campaign staff in the election campaigns of the past year.
“He waited for that son for many years,” one friend and fellow yeshiva student told Hebrew-language media on Sunday.
Weiss was “happy and joyful” at the child’s birth, the friend said. “I visited him during the shiva after his son’s death. He was broken. It was a horrible disaster.”
“Itzik was beloved and talented. His heart broke and he couldn’t bear it,” said United Torah Judaism MK Uri Maklev.
Rabbi Noam Elon, one of the leaders of the seminary, eulogized Weiss at the Sunday evening funeral as “a rock” of the community.
“A rock has been uprooted from among us,” he said, “and the heartbreak is hard to grasp.”
Shloimi Folk, Weiss’s boss in the United Torah Judaism campaign, recalled a “good man with a heart of gold” whose love for his infant son filled his waking hours.
“His son occupied his thoughts all the time. He was the most important thing in his life, and he would stop everything for him,” Folk told Channel 12.
Father and son are survived by Weiss’s widow, the baby’s mother.