Montreal

Hasidic community mourns death of Outremont man, first Montrealer killed by COVID-19

Montreal's first confirmed COVID-19 death is a 67-year-old Hasidic man who showed symptoms Sunday night, ultimately succumbing to complications caused by the coronavirus Wednesday, 24 hours after going to hospital.

The man, 67, starting showing symptoms Sunday, died 3 days later

Hasidic leader Max Lieberman says the entire community in Montreal is shocked by the news that a 67-year-old man died from COVID-19. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Montreal's first confirmed COVID-19 death is a 67-year-old Hasidic man who showed symptoms Sunday night, ultimately succumbing to complications caused by the coronavirus Wednesday night.

The man was taken to hospital on Tuesday night.

"In less than 24 hours, he deteriorated and [was] put on a ventilator in the morning, and it was the evening when he passed away, unfortunately," said Max Lieberman, a member of the man's Hasidic community in Outremont. 

"His family is shocked. His community is shocked. Everybody is shocked." 

While there have been eight confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Quebec, this was the first in Montreal, according to the public health agency for the island.

"They've been forecasting how vicious this virus is, and when it finally hits home, it's sobering," said Lieberman.

"It's a strong wake-up call that we need to redouble our efforts."

A private funeral was held for the man, the service at the Jewish cemetery in Sainte-Sophie attended only by immediate family.

The same God that tells to go the synagogue to pray is the same God that tells you now to stay home.- Outremont Hasidic community member Max Lieberman

Members of the Hasidic community were invited to call in to listen to the service and speak about the man.

"A normal Jewish funeral would a public gathering of 100, 200 people, with the family, friends and rabbis," said Alex Werzberger of the Coalition of Outremont Hassidic Organizations.

Synagogues closed, residents urged to stay home

Werzberger says the Hasidic community understands the gravity of the pandemic.

"I, myself, have confined myself for the past nine days," he said.

"Not because I'm sick or because we are worried, but because we want to be careful. This is the general feeling in the community, whether you're nine years old or 90."

Synagogues in Outremont closed last week, and no services are being held.

"The same God that tells to go the synagogue to pray is the same God that tells you now to stay home," said Lieberman.

"But continue praying for everyone and everyone's health."

About the Author

Sarah Leavitt

Journalist

Sarah Leavitt is a journalist with CBC Montreal.

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