Tragedy as 34-year-old son of prominent rabbi drowns in the sea while on his honeymoon in the Philippines
- Benedict Hayyim Anidjar Romain, son of Rabbi Romain, died on Sunday
- His father said the weather turned and he was caught in a riptide in Philippines
- Rabbi last saw his son two weeks ago before he went away with his wife Stella
The 34-year-old son of a prominent rabbi has tragically drowned in the sea while on his honeymoon in the Philippines.
Rabbi Romain told the Jewish Chronicle that his son Benedict Hayyim Anidjar Romain died on Sunday after the weather ‘suddenly turned’ and he was caught in a riptide.
The rabbi last saw his son two weeks ago, just before he left with his wife Stella, 30, for their honeymoon on the island country in Southeast Asia.
The couple was married last summer by Rabbi Romain, having been together for four years.
Benedict Hayyim Anidjar Romain, son of Rabbi Romain, died on Sunday after the weather ‘suddenly turned’ and he was caught in a riptide while on his honeymoon in the Philippines
Rabbi Romain last saw his son two weeks ago just before he left with his wife Stella for the honeymoon
Benedict was a talented sculptor who studied fine art at the Cardiff School of Art and Design and at Oxford Brookes University.
His ‘totally distraught’ widow Stella works as an online designer.
Stella’s parents were on holiday near the island where the newlyweds were staying, and are still there with their daughter.
Rabbi Romain and his wife Rabbi Sybil Sheridan, a part-time minister at Newcastle Reform Synagogue, are waiting for details of their son’s repatriation having decided not to travel out to the Philippines.
The couple was married last summer by Rabbi Romain, having been together for four years
Benedict’s ‘totally distraught’ widow Stella works as an online designer
‘It’s deeply painful. But I know from seeing so many others suffer a massive bereavement that one day we will laugh and sing again. Although I must admit it doesn’t feel like that right now,’ said the rabbi.
‘By the time we get there, a 17-hour flight and then another half-day travel, we hope he will have been brought home.’
Rabbi Romain and his wife have three other sons and are both former chairs of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis and Cantors.
The father said his son, who lived in London, grew up in Maidenhead Synagogue and was part of Reform Synagogue Youth (RSY) where he had been a camp madrich.
His son’s work as a sculptor included making fine art props for films.
Benedict was a sculptor who studied fine art at the Cardiff School of Art and Design and Oxford Brookes University
He also made a sculpture of a prayer book transforming into a dove for Maidenhead Synagogue. ‘I love walking past it every day,’ said Rabbi Romain.
The minister added that being a rabbi is helping him cope with his grief. ‘I have officiated at several hundred funeral and grieved with many congregants over the years, which makes me aware, though it’s obvious really that my grief is not unique and that many others have suffered searing pain too,’ he said.
Members of the Maidenhead synagogue paid their respects to Benedict, who was a chedar volunteer and a High Holidays shofar blower at the shul.
John and Susie Dunston described Benedict as full of ‘gentleness, kindness and modesty’.
Stella’s parents were on holiday near the island where the newlyweds were staying and have remained there with their distraught daughter
Members of the Maidenhead synagogue paid tribute to Benedict, who was a chedar volunteer and a High Holidays shofar blower at the shul
‘We both have the most vivid memory of the last time we saw Ben, vigorously blowing the great shofar at Yom Kippur,’ they said.
Another Maidenhead congregant, Sheila Veniar, described Benedict as the ‘gentlest of giants’.
‘Sometimes there are people who seem to fit so much into a lifetime, who grasp every moment to do what they love, it’s as if they knew their time was limited, and I feel Ben was one such soul,’ they said.
‘Thank you for creating such a gift and a blessing for us all.’
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