Volunteers find in N.C. body of rabbi who drowned rescuing students

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — A body believed to be that of a rabbi who jumped into the ocean in Virginia to save a student was found off the coast of North Carolina.

Volunteers looking for Reuven Bauman, 35, found the body on Sunday, five days after the teacher at Yeshiva Toras Chaim in Norfolk, Virginia, jumped into choppy water at False Cape State Park in Virginia Beach after a student, said to be 13 years old.

The student made it safely to shore but the rabbi never returned and was believed to have been swept away by rip currents. According to Yeshiva World News, the body was identified as Bauman’s.

His brother, Rabbi Mordechai Bauman of University Heights, Ohio, is a teacher at Yeshiva Derech Hatorah in Cleveland Heights. The Baumans grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey.

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Reuven Bauman, who is listed on the school’s website as teaching seventh- and eighth-grade secular studies teacher and third-grade Judaic studies, is the father of five children.

A local rabbi from Virginia, Gavriel Rudin, had told the CBS affiliate News 3 WTKR that volunteers would continue to search for Bauman though authorities discontinued their efforts.

“We know the chances are slim, but we have not given up and Jews throughout the world are hoping and praying for his safe return,” he told the news channel before the body was found.

He said that in Judaism, finding the body and providing a proper burial are of “incredible importance.”