Freak Accident Takes Life of Paralyzed Orthodox Jewish Florida Man

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SURFSIDE, FL (VINnews/Sandy Eller) – An Orthodox Jewish South Florida man lost his life yesterday in a tragic car crash that took place on the front porch of his home.

Sources told VIN News that Moshe Behar, who was a paraplegic, was in the midst of trying to arrange the sale of his wheelchair accessible van when the accident occurred at approximately 5 PM in Surfside.

Behar, one of the founding members of South Florida’s chevra kadisha, was about to let a potential buyer test drive his 2002 Chevrolet Express 1500 when the driver accidentally hit the gas instead of the brakes on her own minivan, pinning the mid-fifties father of three to his porch of his Byron Avenue home.

Special equipment had to be brought in to lift the minivan and it took several hours to extricate Behar who was pronounced dead at the scene, said Chesed Shel Emes director and police chaplain Mark Rosenberg. Arrangements were also made to have a chaplain meet Behar’s 21 year old son who was returning home from an Israeli for Pesach at Newark Airport to notify him of the accident.

The driver, a Tampa woman, was not charged in the accident.

A Mishpacha profile detailed how Behar lost use of his legs in 2006 in a biking accident after he was hit by a truck traveling at 90 miles per hour while training for an Olympic-style cycling event on a Florida highway whose wide shoulders attracted bikers. He remained unconscious in a hospital for two months following the accident, and was told by doctors that he was lucky to survive and even more fortunate to have not sustained any cognitive or speech impairments.

The driver of the truck was never ticketed or prosecuted and a lawsuit against the trucking company yielded only enough money for Behar and his wife Luisa to pay his hospital bills and buy a house, leaving the couple in difficult financial straits.

Luisa Behar’s salary, a small disability stipend from the government and the generous support of the Miami community have kept the family afloat and Behar was in the process of launching a new business with a friend at the time of the Mishpacha interview.

Two recent Facebook posts from February show Behar’s attempts to sell his vehicle, one bearing the words, “I’m trying to sell my van in order to collect much needed funds.”

Despite having been paralyzed by the accident, Behar saw it as a turning point in his life and, in the years that followed, he was drawn closer to his religious observance despite living in constant pain. He was seen one day before the accident pushing himself to shul in his wheelchair for Mincha amid heavy rains.

Behar’s funeral will take place this afternoon at 4PM at The Shul of Bal Harbour, with burial to follow in Israel.


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