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Area mourns accident victims Michael Lippe, Paul Kudowitz

As North Jersey was digging itself out from last weekend’s blizzard, members of the Jewish community were in mourning for two men killed in separate accidents.

Dr. Michael Lippe, 56, of Mahwah was flying to the Rochester, N.Y., area when his plane crashed Wednesday, Dec. 22, in upstate New York. For 15 years Lippe had been emergency room director at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern. For the past year he had been working at Geneva General Hospital in Geneva, N.Y., in the Finger Lakes region, and that’s where he was going when his plane crashed. According to the Yates County Sheriff’s Office in New York, Lippe was flying through freezing rain and sleet when the plane went down in Barrington, N.Y., after striking trees. His single-engine Mooney M-20 lost a wing and front engine.

In another tragedy, Dr. Paul Kudowitz, 57, of Englewood was killed in a hit-and-run accident last Friday night in Englewood while walking home from shul. Englewood police declined to give details of the case, but said the investigation was continuing.

Both men were recalled with affection and respect by those who knew them.

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Dr. Michael Lippe Courtesy Lippe family

For the past seven months, Lippe had been putting on tefillin every morning, said Rabbi Dov Drizin, director of Valley Chabad in Woodcliff Lake, which Lippe had attended for more than10 years. Drizin praised Lippe’s intelligence but that’s not what defined him, the rabbi said.

“He wasn’t a religious Jew but he had a strong spiritual pride,” Drizin said. He was “very philanthropic — beyond the call of normal duty,” the rabbi continued. “He had a very human and warm touch to him.”

At Lippe’s funeral last Friday at Gates of Zion Cemetery in Airmont, N.Y., Drizin said, he spoke of the irony that Lippe was always working to save lives, but in the end, there was nobody to save his.

Lippe’s daughter Jordanna recalled at the funeral that her father would recite the Aishet Chayil, Woman of Valor, every Friday night for his wife, Suzanne. Jordanna recited the traditional Friday night invocation at the funeral, dedicating it to her mother.

“He was the best father, husband, and doctor anyone could ask for,” Jordanna told the Standard. “He knew how to work through any problem.” Her father loved flying, she recalled, and family members would often fly with him.

“He had a certain type of mentality, the critical thinking that made him a great emergency room doctor and a good pilot,” she said. “Flying was always a part of his life.”

Compassion defined her father, she said. Even while working a 12-hour shift in the emergency room, he would say, “Of course these people don’t want to be here, how can I make it better for them?”

Lippe’s memory was honored at a service at the Hatzolah ambulance squad garage in Monsey, N.Y., attended by members of many squads in the area, said Simcha Klein, Hatzolah executive director. The funeral procession included up to 15 ambulances from the area, he said.

Klein recalled Lippe as “a good man who helped a lot of our EMTs through his classes,” He said Lippe’s work as emergency room director brought him into close contact with squad members over the years.

Kudowitz, an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist and father of six, was always giving, said his son-in-law, Jonathan Katz of Englewood. Katz, recalled that in the early days of his business, Kudowitz helped Katz and his wife, Robyn, with the down payment on their house.

“He always wanted to make people happy,” Katz said. “He’d give the shirt off his back to somebody who needed it.”

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Dr. Paul Kudowitz and his wife Ricki Courtesy Kudowitz family

Kudowitz would often say that blood is thicker than water, Katz said.

“He meant it in every sense of that phrase,” he said. “He was always about his children, always about his wife, they were first and foremost.”

After a memorial service at Cong. Ahavath Torah on Sunday, the family flew to Israel Monday night for burial.

Rabbi Shmuel Goldin of Englewood’s Cong. Ahavath Torah recalled that one of Kudowitz’s children said that he loved to love and loved to be loved. That, Goldin said, defined Kudowitz.

“The gift that Paul gave to us is if he was your friend, your father, your grandfather, your husband, he loved you and you knew you weren’t alone,” Goldin said. “His love knew no bounds.”

Rabbi Menachem Genack, spiritual leader of Cong. Shomrei Emunah in Englewood, had known Kudowitz for some 20 years. Although Kudowitz regularly attended Ahavath Torah, he would frequent Shomrei Emunah because his two sisters — who have since moved to Israel and Passaic — would attend there. Israel and Zionism played major roles for Kudowitz, who was a supporter of Israel’s Aleh Foundation, an organization that provides for disabled children.

“His heart was in Israel, now he’s buried in Israel,” Genack said.

Kudowitz’s accident has sparked a review of safety procedures for shul-goers, Goldin said. While the rabbi does not believe, based on witness reports of reckless driving, that the accident would have been avoided because of increased visibility, “we’re going to make a very strong push again to encourage our members to wear reflector vests and belts when they’re walking so they can become more visible,” he said.

Two people from Genack’s synagogue were hit by a car a few years ago, and that incident persuaded shul-goers to wear reflective vests. “It’s a good idea to review that again,” the rabbi said.

A close friend recalled Kudowitz as a “special person,” who would go to the “end of the world” for those close to him. The friend, who did not want to be identified, said Kudowitz always gave 1,000 percent to whatever he did.

He recalled how Kudowitz started work as a occupational therapist but then decided he wanted to be a doctor and approached medical school with his characteristic determination. He said Kudowitz was injured in an auto accident seven years ago and had been subsequently unable to work, but never lost his zest for life and took up carpentry as a hobby.

Katz remembered his father-in-law not just for his generosity, but also for his love of building things. When he and his wife bought a home across the street from Kudowitz and knocked it down in October 2008 to build a new home in its place, Kudowitz arranged for the subcontractors.

“He loved projects,” Katz said.

Dr. Aaron Stein, who attended BTA High School in Brooklyn with Kudowitz, recalled a trip to Israel several years ago with Kudowitz, another mutual friend, and all of their families. Right before a rafting trip down the Jordan, the Israeli guide said not to worry, the boats rarely capsize. Sure enough, the boat holding Stein, Kudowitz, their friend, and Kudowitz’s daughter Ariele capsized almost immediately. As the boat and Ariele floated down the Jordan, Kudowitz shouted to the others to hang on to other boats while he swam after them.

“He swam down the river to get his daughter, who was floating freely down, grabbed her, swam back up against the current, and brought his daughter and the boat back to the side of the river,” Stein said.

“If he was your friend, he cared about you,” Stein added. “He did anything that was in his capability to help you.”

Kudowitz is survived by his wife Ricki and children Robyn, Brian, Ariele, Shanna, Cara, and Sabrina. Lippe is survived by his wife Suzanne and children Paige, Jordanna, and Jeryl.

The family of Dr. Paul Kudowitz requests donations be made to the following organizations:

Aleh Foundation: www.alehhfoundationusa.org

The Michael J. Fox Foundation: www.michaeljfox.org

The Frisch School Scholarship Fund: www.frisch.org

The Moriah School Scholarship Fund: www.moriah.org

Cong. Ahavath Torah Gemilas Chesed Fund: www.ahavathtorah.org

 
 

Shalom, 2010; shalom, 2011

 

Golfing fundraiser renamed in memory of Paul Kudowitz

Pars for Parkinsons benefit tees off in May

An annual golfing benefit for Parkinson’s research was started by and for one Bergen County Jewish family last year. Now, the circle has widened.

Pars for Parkinson’s was the brainchild of Teaneck’s Dr. Lou Flancbaum and his wife, Debby. Lou Flancbaum, a surgeon, had to retire at age 53 in 2007 because of the progressive neurological condition. He discovered his passion for golf after his physician recommended exercise to stave off the stiffness and loss of balance that accompany Parkinson’s disease.

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Dr. Paul Kudowitz COURTESY KUDOWITZ FAMILY

Last spring, the inaugural event raised more than $44,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, with the help of a cadre of volunteers recruited through the “teaneckshuls” and “englewoodshuls” Yahoo groups. One of those volunteers was Ricki Kudowitz of Englewood, herself a Parkinson’s patient.

This year, the May 15 event has been renamed Pars for Parkinson’s: The Paul Kudowitz Memorial Golf Outing, in memory of Ricki Kudowitz’s husband, an anesthesiologist killed by a car as he walked home from davening at his son Brian’s home in Englewood on Dec. 24. A month later, his 13-year-old daughter, Moriah School eighth-grader Sabrina, came along to the Pars committee meeting.

When Debby Flancbaum showed the group some sample Michael J. Fox Foundation rubber bracelets, Sabrina offered to sell them at Moriah and got permission to do so.

“I’ve sold 35, and there are more kids waiting for the next batch to come in,” Sabrina told The Jewish Standard.

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At last year’s Pars for Parkinson golf outing are, from left, Steven Levy, Dr. Lou Flancbaum, and Jay Greenspan. This year’s outing has been renamed in memory of Dr. Paul Kudowitz of Englewood, pictured at top, who was killed in a hit-run accident Dec. 24. Paula Kelly/Paula Kelly Designs

The bracelets are available in royal blue and pink, with orange and red lettering that says “Team Fox” and “Paul Kudowitz Memorial Golf Outing.”

The next batch of 1,000 also will be sold by Sabrina’s older sisters — Cara, 21, at Rutgers University, and Ariele, 25, and Shanna, 24, who live and work in Manhattan. In addition, bracelets will be sold at the Frisch School in Paramus by Haley Silverstein, whose mother is on the Pars committee and whose grandfather had Parkinson’s. The Kudowitz daughters made a Facebook page to help promote the bracelets.

Brian Kudowitz and his wife, Laura, are raising funds for the charity event and are planning to compete in a triathlon this summer for the benefit of the Fox Foundation. “Laura bakes and sells challah every week and earmarks the proceeds to the triathlon and Pars,” said her mother-in-law.

The oldest Kudowitz daughter, Robyn, and her husband, Jonathan Katz, had volunteered to donate hot dogs and burgers for the outing through their Kosher Sports business even before the death of her father.

“We’re a family of doers,” said Ricki Kudowitz. It had been her husband who had noticed the posting on Englewoodshuls about the Pars for Parkinsons committee and had encouraged her to get involved. “He was always a proactive person. He believed you get things by going after them.”

Children of several other committee members have pitched in to solicit corporate and goods-and-services donations, said Flancbaum, including her own daughter, Rachel Sicolo, who works at Kessler Rehab Center and got a donation of anesthetic ointment for the golfers.

“Everyone’s children were moved by what happened with Paul,” said Debby Flancbaum. “It’s very touching. Haley Silverstein never met the Kudowitzes but she wants to start coming to the meetings with her mother. The story has touched people and made them think twice about the fragility of life. There is a feeling that they want some good to come from [the tragedy].”

The second annual Pars for Parkinson’s Golf Outing will take place at Terry Brae Golf Course in South Fallsburg, N.Y. “The excitement and tremendous support mounting around this year’s event make us confident that we will reach and surpass our new goal of $50,000,” said Lou Flancbaum.

The event costs $180 per person or $600 per foursome and includes golf, a cart, kosher continental breakfast and barbecue lunch, beer, soft drinks, a Team Fox golf shirt, a sleeve of balls and other assorted items. The hole-in-one prize is a car, donated by M and M Auto Group of Liberty, N.Y. Hole sponsorships are available for $250, $500, $750, and $1,000. Details are available at www.tinyurl.com/pars-for-parkinson-s.

Among other businesses donating goods and services are Herr’s; Monticello ShopRite; David’s Cookies of Fairfield; Jon-Da Printing of Jersey City; and Butterflake Bake Shop, Sababa Grill, Sammy’s Bagels, Ma’adan, and BLD Fine Art, all of Teaneck.

The Pars for Parkinson’s committee members are Teaneck residents Brian and Cindy Blitz, Ira Goetz, Avi Goldin, Les Glubo, Phillip and Marlene Rhodes, Rabbi Barry Schlesinger, Marcy Rubin, L’via Weisinger, Mike Markel, and Bob and Suzan Topaz; Mindy Silverstein of Fair Lawn; Alex and Vicki Wulwick of River Edge; Tova Flancbaum of Manhattan; and Englewood residents Ricki Kudowitz, Jonathan and Robyn Katz, Brian and Laura Kudowitz, and Sabrina Kudowitz.

 
 
 
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