Shortly after the devastating news broke of the massacre at Virginia Tech, the family of Professor Liviu Librescu was notified of his death. The 75-year-old Holocaust survivor sacrificed his life to save his students.
The family immediately contacted the ZAKA Organization in Eretz Yisroel to help expedite the release of the niftar, who in turn advised the family to contact Rabbi Isaac Lieder in Monsey, NY.
Rabbi Lieder quickly contacted the medical examiner’s office in Roanoke, Virginia, and explained that the professor was Jewish and Jewish law prohibits performing an autopsy on a deceased person. They guaranteed Rabbi Lieder that even though they were dealing with the largest investigation of a shooting on US soil, there would in fact be no autopsy, just a minimally invasive procedure to remove the bullets, followed by a few x-rays.
Rabbi Lieder contacted Rabbi Yossi Kranz, who is the Chabad shliach in Virginia to go to the medical examiner’s office and act as a shomer for the niftar, while explaining to them that an autopsy is forbidden according to Jewish law.
Rabbi Lieder was scheduled to fly by private jet with Mr. Eli Rowe of Queens Hatzolah to pick up the niftar. Unfortunately, due to inclement weather, they were unable to fly. Rabbi Lieder drove in a private vehicle to the medical examiner’s office in Roanoke to take the niftar to New York City.
Rabbi Lieder, who spoke with Yeshivaworld, told of the amazing cooperation of state police in states along the way, which provided him with police escorts the entire way. He specifically mentioned the cooperation of the governor of Virginia’s office, various Virginia congressmen, and other public officials.
The niftar will be brought to Shomrei Hachomos Chapels in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Wednesday, where a taharah will be preformed by the Chesed Shel Emes Organization under the leadership of the esteemed askan, Rabbi Mendy Rosenberg.
A levaya is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at Shomrei Hachomos, after which the niftar will be flown to Eretz Yisroel for another levaya and kevurah.