Rabbi Dovid Winiarz z’l, popularly known as the “Facebuker Rebbe, ” passed away in a car crash in Baltimore on the way to a kiruv (Jewish outreach) convention, as reported by Baltimore Jewish Life. Three others were injured on the way to the kiruv convention and are in the hospital. Route 23, also known as the East West Expressway, was closed for a period of time on the morning of the accident. There were warnings that the road was slippery, but there were drivers on the road, and several other accidents, as the police reported. The road went from slippery to icy very quickly and conditions became hazardous.
Rabbi Winiarz was known as the “Facebuker” rebbe and used the social media site as an opportunity to further the cause of Jewish education and outreache. Even those who never met him in person, but were acquainted with him through Facebook, referred to him as “my rabbi” when they posted about their loss. “If there is one reason why God had Facebook created, it was so Rabbi Winiarz could reach out to and help thousands of people across the world.”
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Outside of his social media life, which he brought onto Facebook and shared often, he was a father of ten, founded Survival Through Education and ran a food pantry in Staten Island. He often posted pictures of his wife and children to communicate the warmth of the traditional Jewish home. His final Facebook status update shows a video of him at Avos uBonim, a program that encourages fathers and children to learn Torah together, with the caption, “Before I leave on my road trip, I came to learn Torah with my son and his friend.”
Rabbi Avi Shafran, director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America, wrote of Winiarz, “Dovid was a one-man dynamo, an unstoppable force, when it came to reaching out to fellow Jews … and he was just as committed and energetic when it came to helping any Jew in need. He was indefatigable, always full of joy and caring. It sounds trite, but I really can’t imagine a world without him, without his constant smile and contagiously happy demeanor, without all the wonderful things he did for Klal Yisroel (the worldwide Jewish community) on a daily basis.”