After working for many years as a registered nurse at a local hospital, Mrs. Teitelbaum is no stranger to tragedy. Each day caring for the sick and disabled has brought her in contact with many personal stories of tragedy and hope. One of these stories sparked a flame that ignited years later.
Sruly W. was only eighteen years old when tragedy struck. He was a top bochur in yeshiva ready to get engaged shortly, when he was struck at night while crossing Rt 306, causing major brain damage. Severely disabled, he spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair and unable to speak.
“He was in Northern Metropolitan and I was doing recreation there before I became a nurse,” Mrs. Teitelbaum remembered. “His parents visited him every day and I would say Shema with him every day I was working there.”
With Sruly’s story and ever-present smile burned into her memory, the news that he had recently passed away during COVID-19 galvanized her into action.
In the dark of night, seeing anything is difficult, and the hundreds of people walking or riding in the streets of Rockland County while wearing dark-colored clothing feels to Mrs. Teitelbaum like a tragedy waiting to happen.
“Thanks to Debbie at Ramapo Town Hall, the town offers reflectors to be picked up 10 at a time, and I give them out as I drive home at night,” she said.
More than half of pedestrian deaths and nearly 50% of injuries take place each year in the hours of darkness or twilight, with every fifth death or injury amongst cyclists also happens in the dark or twilight.
For Mrs. Teitelbaum, promoting pedestrian visibility is her way of honoring Sruly’s memory and averting more tragedies.
Yet the thought of such a tragedy occurring to them appears far from many people’s minds, as each night people can be seen walking or riding in dark-colored clothes and no reflective wear.
“When I stop and say ‘I can’t see you please put on a reflector, they usually say they don’t have one and I hand them one and say put this on and keep it’, people think I am crazy,” Teitelbaum joked. “My husband was against it in the beginning thinking it was awkward to stop random people. Then I stopped one of his friends who was walking with his wife in the middle of the night. I couldn’t see them and they crossed right in front of me. He later met my husband and said that they wear it every night now thanks to your wife. ”
According to Mrs. Teitelbaum, he has eased up on her since then.
The high visibility reflectors allow for drivers to spot pedestrians and bike riders even from a distance, starkly contrasting from the nighttime darkness and saving lives.
Teitelbaum also encourages anyone making a simcha to pick up reflectors for their family and friends. Reflectors are located at the back entrance to Ramapo Town Hall at the door for pickup: 237 NY-59, Suffern, NY 10901
Safety first! Let’s prevent any more tragedies in Monsey!
Parents please ensure your kids can be properly seen at night.
Be Safe not sorry.