Two days after American surfer Daniel Bobis vanished beneath the waves off western Indonesia, his family is urging people to pray for the 32-year-old’s safe return.
“I want people to pray for Danny,” said Gloria Bobis, mother of the Long Beach, N.Y., resident. “And if they’re also able to assist in any way, please help.”
Hundreds of friends and students from Long Beach High School, where Bobis is a math teacher and coach, gathered Monday evening for an impromptu service on the Atlantic Ocean boardwalk not far from where the man first learned how to surf. Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Eli Goodman, director of the local BACH Jewish Center, recited Psalms and told the crowd that their actions half a world away were not in vain.
“Though we are far away, [the Jewish people] are very close spiritually,” said Goodman. “The unity that we see over here” can have a positive effect.
From the South Sumatran surfing community, a helicopter and divers joined fishing boats in the search for Bobis, who reportedly hit another surfer’s board Sunday morning. His wife told The Associated Press that Bobis’ board washed ashore, but she had hoped he would make his way back to their bungalow.
“Everyone is telling me a lot of people go missing here … that within 48 hours his body will float up and wash in,” said the 29-year-old. “That’s the only thing we can be hopeful for.”
In New York, Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz of Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters has been liaising between family members and search and rescue personnel, as well as Indonesian authorities. Berkowitz, who had travelled to Indonesia several times before, said that the location’s remoteness initially made the search difficult.
“We’re ready, willing and able to assist as we’re called upon,” he said. “Our hearts and prayers are with the family.”
On a Facebook page set up to keep people informed about the search, those who knew Bobis posted well-wishes. Many noted that Bobis had taught them how to surf.
“Mr. Bobis is my favorite math teacher,” wrote Dan Yadgarov. “Before I was in his classes I got terrible grades and hated math, but he was such an awesome teacher that I actually learned quite a bit and had fun doing it. He did the impossible and made math enjoyable.”
“Danny taught me how to surf when we worked together at Jericho,” wrote Craig Pinto. “Come home dbob, please.”