Norfolk, Virginia rabbi missing after jumping in ocean to save struggling student

A view of the Back Bay at False Cape State Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia (Wikimedia Commons)

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — A rabbi who jumped into the ocean in a state park in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is missing after saving a student who was having trouble returning to shore.

The U.S. Coast Guard said it will continue what it is calling a recovery mission for the rabbi, who has been identified as Reuven Bauman, 35, a teacher at Yeshiva Toras Chaim in Norfolk, Virginia, by the Yeshiva World News website. The search was scaled back for the night when it got dark on Tuesday and was expected to resume on Wednesday.

The 11-year-old student, who was at False Cape State Park on Tuesday afternoon with about 20 others from a local yeshiva, was reported to be safe.

The water on Tuesday was reported to be choppy with rip currents, and area lifeguards had raised a red flag, which means that swimming is prohibited, the local channel ABC 13 news reported. Swimming is prohibited in that area of the state park as well.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Little Creek searched on Tuesday for the rabbi. Crews from the Virginia Beach Fire Department and the Virginia Marine Police are also assisting with the search.

A call went out Tuesday evening on social media requesting prayers for the recovery of the rabbi. He is listed on the school’s website as teaching seventh- and eighth-grade secular studies teacher and third-grade Judaic studies.