Community activist and philanthropist Shlomo (Steve) Zakheim died on the first day of Rosh Hashanah after a nearly year-long battle with cancer. He was 59.
Zakheim founded Metropolitan Ambulance, an ambulance and medical transport business, and owned Revival Home Health Care. But what he was most known for, and what drew thousands to his funeral on Sunday in Brooklyn, was the extensive amount of charity he gave to hundreds of individuals, organizations and causes, as well as many shuls and hospitals. He frequently did so anonymously, shunning honor and recognition.
As the owner of a medical transport company, Zakheim frequently used his access to ambulances and helicopters to transfer sick or injured individuals to hospitals. He was one of the earliest members of Hatzolah, and became the organization’s first paramedic.
He also took on many causes, such as personally visiting and advocating for Jonathan Pollard, Robert Manning, and other Jewish prisoners, and treating people near ground zero after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He flew mohels to the Soviet Union, Cuba and other countries where performing a bris was illegal and the procedure largely unavailable.
As one small indication of how many lives Zakheim touched, a Shlomo Zakheim Facebook page was started Monday afternoon. Just one day later, it had received over 1,500 “likes.”
Zakheim was buried on Har Hamenuchot in Jerusalem next to his father, Rabbi Yaakov Zakheim. He is survived by his mother, Rebbetzin Sarah Zakheim; his wife, Dr. Faygie Zakheim; his siblings, Moshe Zakheim, Mrs. Rachelle Klein, and Mrs. Devorah Hamada; his children Michal Klerer, Rabbi Azriel Zakheim, Ariella Weiss, Rachelli Levine and Rabbi Moshe Zakheim; and many grandchildren.
(Editor’s Note: For more on the life of Shlomo Zakheim, see Rabbi Raphael Fuchs’s tribute here.)