WILLIAMSBURG — Hundreds gathered outside a local synagogue Wednesday to mourn the sudden death of its president, a powerful community leader and developer, who drowned suddenly Tuesday while on vacation in Florida.
Mourners remembered Isack Rosenberg, 67, as a pillar of Hasidic Williamsburg, president of the Yetev Lev Satmar Congregation, who had a hand in helping grow neighborhood schools, houses of worship, businesses and families all over Williamsburg and beyond.
"He had such a heart to help people, he used to tell me his biggest drive is to keep people happy," said Rabbi Moishe Indig, who worked alongside Rosenberg at Yetev Lev Satmar and had known him for years. "There was not a building, a school that he wasn't involved in helping."
Indig said this Passover a family from Israel needed a place to stay while one of the members was receiving cancer treatment in New York. Rosenberg took them all in, even though he'd never met them before.
"It was like a hotel for free," Indig said. "He always had a lot of guests eating with him, sleeping over."
Body of rabbi Isaac Rosenberg arrives for his Williamsburg funeral pic.twitter.com/AVNnKizhKz
— Gwynne Hogan (@GwynneFitz) May 18, 2016
By mid-morning Wednesday hundreds of mourners packed the Hooper Street block in front of the Yetev Lev Satmar's synagogue, which Rosenberg had a hand in building a decade ago.
Rosenberg and Chaim Parnes, 66, drown in powerful currents off the shore of an unguarded Miami Beach Tuesday. Rosenberg was on a two week vacation there where he had a condo, according to Indig.
Their bodies was rushed back to New York City for Wednesday's funeral.
Beyond Rosenberg's role of president of the Satmar, he was the owner of Certified Lumber and developed housing all over the neighborhood, including the stalled Rose Plaza on the South Williamsburg waterfront.
"There are a lot of tears today," said a City Councilman David Greenfield who represents Borough Park and had gotten to know Rosenberg over the past decade. "He was the go-to guy in the community on every major issue."
Others took to Facebook to remember their friend.
"The shock of their lose has not penetrated yet, we all lost a friend, a family member leader and charitable way of living," wrote Isaac Abraham, a friend of Rosenberg's for decades. "[He was] a person you always wanted to be around, a great sense of humor and friendship."
While Public Advocate Letitia James and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams extended her condolences on Twitter.
My deepest condolences to the Satmar Community on the tragic passing of President Rabbi Isac Rosenberg. My thoughts & prayers are with you— Tish James (@TishJames) May 17, 2016