Temple Beth-El reacts to missing Tuscaloosa doctor following building collapse near Miami

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 7:19 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Family and friends of a missing Tuscaloosa doctor remain hopeful tonight that he will be found alive.

A family friend confirmed with WBRC today that Dr. Gary Cohen, and his brother are both considered missing following the collapse of the condominium complex near Miami.

The Board President at Temple Beth-El, where Dr. Cohen is a member, said they have a large congregation, but they are a big family, and it hurts knowing one of their own is missing.

Ronald Levitt said the Temple Beth-El congregation is clinging to hope and faith as they wait to learn more about what’s happened to Dr. Gary Cohen.

“You know, our congregational family shares the pain that was suffered by the community in Miami and the members of our community,” Levitt said.

Dr. Cohen is a physician at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center where he’s provided care to veterans for many years.

In a statement, the director of the center, John Merkle said, “He is part of the Tuscaloosa VAMC family, and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this incredibly difficult time.”

Levitt said the situation is “unimaginable” as family and friends wait to hear the status of their loved ones.

“Our love, thoughts and prayers individually and as a congregation are with all of those who have and will suffer from this horrible event,” Levitt said.

He added that no matter the outcome, the Temple Beth-El family will be there to support the Cohen family.

“It’s a small world. People are related here and there so, all we can do is provide as much moral, spiritual, and physical support, putting our arms around our members and just seeing how things play out. There are no easy stories and there are no easy answers to things like this,” Levitt said.

So far, at least four people were killed in the collapse, and more than 100 people are unaccounted for.

Family and friends said they are hopeful the Cohens will be found alive, and they know miracles can still happen.

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