This 2024 - Let's Win the Battle of Headlines
update deskU.S. News

Michigan teen dies hiking in Alaska; Chabad center helps bring him home

Local rabbis contributed to making the arrangements, hosting the other Jewish campers and offering grief counseling.

Simon Mirkes. Credit: Courtesy.

A Jewish teenager from the Detroit area died suddenly on July 17 while on a Camp Tamarack hiking trip in Alaska.

Simon Mirkes, 16, of Farmington Hills, Mich., collapsed and died, reportedly of cardiac issues, in Kenai Fjords National Park, a month into a group hike through the Harding Icefield trail, per park officials.

Officials reported that resuscitation attempts by paramedics from a LifeMed helicopter were unsuccessful.

The deceased’s family reached out to Chabad Lubavitch-Alaska Jewish Campus, in the state capital of Anchorage, to ensure that all medical-examiner processes were performed under halachah, Jewish law. Rabbi Yosef and Esty Greenberg, co-directors of the Chabad center, arranged for the transportation of the body from Kenai, Alaska, to Michigan via Anchorage.

At Camp Tamarack’s request, Chabad provided local sleeping arrangements for the other 30 campers, as well as professional counselors and hot meals. Rabbi Greenberg and associate Rabbi Levi Glitsenstein conducted a service in memory of the teen.

“We explained to them that there is no doubt that their friend, who is now in heaven, wants to see them continue with life, and that’s the best way they can give him joy,” Greenberg told JNS.

Before the deceased was taken to the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Chabad conducted a funeral procession service outside of the Alaska Jewish Campus that included members of the local Jewish community.

Greenberg told JNS that, save for a relatively minor bear altercation many years ago, this was the only emergency incident he has heard of in the 30 years of Tamarack Camps-led excursions to the area.

Campers have been coming to Chabad for Shabbat each year.

The deceased family’s rabbi, Michael Moskowitz of the Reform synagogue Temple Shir Shalom in West Bloomfield, officiated the funeral at the Dorfman Chapel on Friday at noon, with burial at the Shalom Memorial Park in Livonia, Mich.

The boy is survived by his parents, Scott and Michelle, of Farmington Hills; his sister Samantha; his grandparents, Edward and Cheryl Tunick; and many other family members.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates