On Wednesday, March 8, the Los Angeles Jewish community was shocked to receive news that Chaim Elefant, a 33-year-old father of four and member of the Pico-Robertson community, had passed away. He left behind his wife, Miriam (Citronenbaum), and four children under the age of 7.
According to The Yeshiva World, Elefant was on a flight from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale, Florida when he suffered a heart attack. While crewmembers tried to resuscitate him, they were unsuccessful. The plane made an emergency landing in New Orleans and Elefant was rushed to the hospital, where he died.
At the time, Elefant was flying with two of his business partners at their company. He also went by Michael and was chief sales officer at Art Naturals, a beauty brand.
The Jewish community is now raising money for Miriam and her children via The Chesed Fun. The goal is $3 million; in one day, over $1 million in donations came in to pay for expenses like their mortgage, therapy and the children’s education. The fundraiser states, “Just the thought of writing such words about such a special person is unfathomable and beyond anyone’s wildest imagination.”
Rabbis like Rabbi Daniel Grama, Rabbi Boruch Gradon and Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn, dean of school at Yeshivat Yavneh – where the Elefant children go to school – signed the letter on the fundraiser.
“Chaim was always the type of person who would do anything for anybody.” – Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn
“Chaim was always the type of person who would do anything for anybody,” Einhorn said. “He had a heart of gold.”
The rabbi attended the levaya (funeral) on March 9 at Beth Jacob Congregation, calling it heart wrenching. The levaya, which was posted on YouTube, had 12,000 views in just six hours; some of the speakers broke down while talking about Elefant.
“He was such a zealot for others,” Einhorn said. “He would raise money and find charity for others. Now, his young children are going to need that support.”
Chaim is the son of Lisa and Yaakov Elefant of Brooklyn, New York.
To donate to the Elefant Family Fund, visit thechesedfund.com/AN5RdD/elephantfamilyfund.