The Champlain Towers after its collapse on June 24th, 2021. (Twitter Screenshot) (Twitter Screenshot)
champlain towers

Steve Rosenthal, 73, had called Champlain Towers home for twenty years. The building tragically collapsed on June 24th, 2021 at 1:30 a.m., killing 98 people, with first responders only rescuing him from his seventh-floor balcony hours later.

Amid the devastation, Rosenthal thought he had lost everything. But then came a call from the police: they had found a bag in the rubble with his name on it. Inside were his prayer shawl and the tefillin he had worn at his bar mitzvah.

For Rosenthal, the discovery was a divine message. “Finding probably the most religious, two most religious, items in Judaism kind of, like, just turned my life around,” he said. “To me, it was my guardian angel, my parents in heaven.”

The son of Holocaust survivors, Rosenthal now attends temple every morning. With help from charities and donations, he lives in a one-bedroom apartment in Brickell, about 15 miles from Surfside. His faith, once a distant memory, was restored amidst the rubble.

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