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Jacksonville, Florida residents Orly, 16, and Esther Ohayon, 57, were struck by a car while walking to shul erev Yom Kippur. Esther Ohayon, z"l, was killed, Orly is in critical condition.

On Friday evening, September 13, Orly Ohayon and her mother, Esther, were struck by a car as they were walking to Etz Chaim Synagogue  for erev Yom Kippur services in Mandarin, Florida.

Tragically, Orly’s 57 year old mother died on the scene from her injuries.  Orly was taken by ambulance in critical condition to University of Florida Health Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida.  Orly underwent surgery Saturday evening and has begun her physical recovery.

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Orly, 16, is a regional board member of the Orthodox Union’s youth organization, the National Council of Synagogue Youth, and she attended a NCSY program this summer.

Orly, born in Ashkelon, Israel, lived alone with her mother in a small town outside of Jacksonville. Esther’s body will be transported.  She will be transported to Israel, where she will be buried next to her husband, Yuda Ohayon, who predeceased her.

There is currently a fundraising site established by Orly’s cousin, as money will be needed to cover the cost of transport and burial for Orly’s mother, and for Orly’s needs when she is released from the hospital.

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com

51 COMMENTS

  1. How horribly tragic – how senseless the premature loss of this lovely young lady’s mother – Yom Kippur will indeed be not only the holiest of holy days for this 16 year old, but the “loneliest” – may her mother’s soul rest in peace.

  2. When I first read this story (I think it was here) I felt terrible for this woman and her daughter, who was seriously injured. I still do.

    Later, I read in the Forward that this accident was entirely preventable. A driver, who had the green light and who wasn't charged by the police, hit these two women because they were crossing against a "Don't Walk" sign, while walking to shul on Yom Kippur. The reason they were crossing against the light wasn't because they were inveterate jaywalkers. It was because under the boneheaded rules of halachic Judaism, one is forbidden to complete an electrical circuit. Pushing the button next to the traffic light in order to obtain a "Walk" cycle evidently is assur, in the eyes of the frumbags.

    The Forward asked the question, "Why is this guy behind the wheel." Apparently, he hit a little girl 17 years ago. It was an accident — determined not to be his fault — but that didn't stop the Forward from defaming this guy.

    The Forward also quoted the orthodox rabbi as saying that he had contacted the local contressman for the district, and asked if the cycle could be lenghened on Shabbot and other Jewish holy days. What this moronic rabbi should have done was tell his congregation that pressing the button to generate a walk cycle is not assur, but is mandatory for all Jews because it's a potential life-saver, Shabbot, Yom Kippur, or the othr 300 days of the year which aren't holidays.

    This rabbi has blood on his hands, and his lame excuse "I told my congressman" rings as hollow as a hollow-point bullet, and this story is Exhibit A as to what's wrong with the ultra-orthodox.

  3. When I first read this story (I think it was here) I felt terrible for this woman and her daughter, who was seriously injured. I still do.

    Later, I read in the Forward that this accident was entirely preventable. A driver, who had the green light and who wasn't charged by the police, hit these two women because they were crossing against a "Don't Walk" sign, while walking to shul on Yom Kippur. The reason they were crossing against the light wasn't because they were inveterate jaywalkers. It was because under the boneheaded rules of halachic Judaism, one is forbidden to complete an electrical circuit. Pushing the button next to the traffic light in order to obtain a "Walk" cycle evidently is assur, in the eyes of the frumbags.

    The Forward asked the question, "Why is this guy behind the wheel." Apparently, he hit a little girl 17 years ago. It was an accident — determined not to be his fault — but that didn't stop the Forward from defaming this guy.

    The Forward also quoted the orthodox rabbi as saying that he had contacted the local contressman for the district, and asked if the cycle could be lenghened on Shabbot and other Jewish holy days. What this moronic rabbi should have done was tell his congregation that pressing the button to generate a walk cycle is not assur, but is mandatory for all Jews because it's a potential life-saver, Shabbot, Yom Kippur, or the othr 300 days of the year which aren't holidays.

    This rabbi has blood on his hands, and his lame excuse "I told my congressman" rings as hollow as a hollow-point bullet, and this story is Exhibit A as to what's wrong with the ultra-orthodox.

  4. How did the driver not see the two women?  Maybe, just maybe it is their fault for jaywalking but what about the driver’s fault? Would he not be found guilty if he, say, was drunk, on his phone, drugs, blind?

  5. Woah, you got t he story messed up. I sit here in the hospital with my sister Orly. She was born in Jacksonville, and she lived in Jacksonville, nothing to do with ashkelon or out of Jacksonville.

  6. Woah, you got t he story messed up. I sit here in the hospital with my sister Orly. She was born in Jacksonville, and she lived in Jacksonville, nothing to do with ashkelon or out of Jacksonville.

  7. Woah, you got t he story messed up. I sit here in the hospital with my sister Orly. She was born in Jacksonville, and she lived in Jacksonville, nothing to do with ashkelon or out of Jacksonville.

  8. Woah, you got t he story messed up. I sit here in the hospital with my sister Orly. She was born in Jacksonville, and she lived in Jacksonville, nothing to do with ashkelon or out of Jacksonville.

  9. Refuah Sh’lemah.
    I would just like to comment about the traffic light, written about as a response.  I was involved with the safety in a community and we went to the county and received authorization for police or crossing guards to handle the traffic light and crowd control on the holidays and Sabbaths.  I think all Rabbis and community leaders should insist on the protection of their members and insist that the light be put on a timer if the municipality does not cooperate with crossing details.  It does not excuse the driver from hitting pedestrians.
    The person who wrote the comment above does not have any respect for the orthodox and we should not have any respect for him.
    I am very sorry for your loss.  
    Denny / Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel

  10. When I first read this story (I think it was here) I felt terrible for this woman and her daughter, who was seriously injured. I still do.

    Later, I read in the Forward that this accident was entirely preventable. A driver, who had the green light and who wasn’t charged by the police, hit these two women because they were crossing against a “Don’t Walk” sign, while walking to shul on Yom Kippur. The reason they were crossing against the light wasn’t because they were inveterate jaywalkers. It was because under the boneheaded rules of halachic Judaism, one is forbidden to complete an electrical circuit. Pushing the button next to the traffic light in order to obtain a “Walk” cycle evidently is assur, in the eyes of the frumbags.

    The Forward asked the question, “Why is this guy behind the wheel.” Apparently, he hit a little girl 17 years ago. It was an accident — determined not to be his fault — but that didn’t stop the Forward from defaming this guy. He certainly didn’t have the world’s greatest driving record, but this accident was determined by the cops not to be his fault. Had the victims pushed the button, she would have gotten an additional 28 seconds to cross the street–ample time. I was just in Ft. Lauderdale. The main streets, such as Broward Blvd., have 6 to 8 lanes of traffic. The speed limit’s 45 mph, and most traffic goes a little faster. You’re literally taking your life in your hands if you don’t give yourself enough time to cross, and Hashem won’t do it for you.

    The Forward also quoted the orthodox rabbi as saying that he had contacted the local contressman for the district, and asked if the cycle could be lenghened on Shabbot and other Jewish holy days. What this moronic rabbi should have done was tell his congregation that pressing the button to generate a walk cycle is not assur, but is mandatory for all Jews because it’s a potential life-saver, Shabbot, Yom Kippur, or the othr 300 days of the year which aren’t holidays.

    This rabbi has blood on his hands, and his lame excuse “I told my congressman” rings as hollow as a hollow-point bullet, and this story is Exhibit A as to what’s wrong with the ultra-orthodox.

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