SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) — Looking at at the mountain of rubble that had buried her father, uncle and dozens of others, a 12-300 and sixty five days-mature lady moved far flung from her relatives, sat down by herself and pulled out her phone. She opened a assortment of Psalms and started to pray.
Elisheva Cohen’s moment of reflection at the site of the Florida home collapse captivated the Surfside mayor and led to an introduction to President Joe Biden, who requested to meet her Thursday when he arrived to console families affected by the pain.
For days, families had been saved far flung from the collapse site, which had been deemed unsafe. Then earlier this week, relatives had been taken there speedily. Some shouted the names of cherished ones and visitors, hoping to hear their cries for encourage. Others cried.
Elisheva sat down on my own, far flung from her mother and brother, and started to learn prayers.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett soon noticed her. He knelt down beside her to interrogate if she became OK.
“Trot” the girl told him.
“And that genuinely introduced it home to me,” Burkett said. “She wasn’t crying. She became perfect misplaced. She didn’t know what to prevail in, what to state, who to talk to.”
Entirely six months ago, Elisheva celebrated her bat mitzvah with her mother and father, Dr. Brad Cohen, one of about 120 of us missing below the rubble. The 300 and sixty five days that precedes the non secular ceremony entails intensive behold of Hebrew, the Bible and history.
That night, Dr. Cohen became proud. His youngest daughter became growing up and reaffirming her Jewish id. Her father instilled a savor for the teaching in both Elisheva and her teenage brother.
Before Dr. Cohen performed his medical residency and internships, he had spent weekends staying at the home of his mentor Rabbi Yakov Saachs, continuously desperate to learn more about his faith.
On his lengthy commutes, he played cassette tapes, hungry to learn the teachings.
“Even supposing he became dogs tired, it became a priority for him to strive to rep as indispensable information as he could per chance,” Saachs told The Associated Press in a phone interview.
At Brad Cohen’s urging, the general family grew to turn into “more observant,” the rabbi said, following customs about no longer driving or doing trade on the Sabbath.
The night prior to the collapse, her mother despatched a message to Cohen with a selfie taken by Elisheva in front of a focal level on. She wore a red T-shirt with a high ponytail. They had been staying in separate properties.
“Compare how lovely,” the message learn.
She became wearing the same outfit the next morning, when her mother “frantically woke her up” to command her about the collapse.
For plenty of days, Burkett shared Elisheva’s story all over the place in the attach. After Biden’s mosey to became announced, the girl’s mother, Soriya Cohen, sold her a brand unusual blue and white dress for the occasion. Her teenage brother became basically the most important one within the family chosen to meet Biden. He had rushed home from a kibbutz in Israel as soon as he heard about the collapse.
But the child had already arranged to appreciate a category with a rabbi in Miami all the intention thru the president’s mosey to.
“He said, ‘I already made a commitment,’” Saachs said. “So he said no.”
The mother also skipped the meeting with Biden, saying she felt the president’s mosey to became a diversion from the search efforts. Elisheva went with every other family member.
The mayor said basically the most transferring moment of Biden’s mosey to became when he shared Elisheva’s story with the president.
“I needed him to know and seek for the face of that miniature lady who is praying for her father all the intention thru from the rubble,” he said. “He looked at me and said, ‘Would you please speak her to me unswerving now?’”
Police went to find Elisheva. Biden walked up to her and they hugged.
Associated Press Writer Kelli Kennedy in Citadel Lauderdale, Florida, also contributed to this file.