Miami, FL – Days After Announcing Suicide Attempt On Facebook, Orthodox Florida Man Kills Himself In Deliberate Turnpike Crash

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    Miami, FL – A 26 year old Miami Beach man with a history of depression died last night in a wrong way collision on a Florida interstate, just days after he announced a previous attempt to take his own life in exactly the same way on Facebook.

    Tzvi Ference was heading northbound in the southbound lanes of the Florida Turnpike in his 2009 Hyundai Accent when he crashed into a tractor trailer. The accident took place in Broward County south of the south of Griffin Road exit just before midnight last night, as reported by the Sun-Sentinel.

    Ference’s car flipped over from the force of the impact while the tractor trailer jack-knifed and hit a guardrail on the west shoulder of the busy highway. Ference was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident and was pronounced dead at the scene. Both the driver of the tractor trailer and his passenger escaped without injury.

    Mark Rosenberg of Florida’s Chesed Shel Emes told VIN News that Ference had been driving with no headlights at the time of the accident. Rosenberg said that he is hopeful that the body will be released shortly and that Chesed Shel Emes members will be able to clean Ference’s car so that the levaya can take place as soon as possible.

    Ference’s spoke openly about suffering from depression on his Facebook page. A post written just three days ago talked about Ference’s previous suicide attempts. Ference described his most recent attempt which took place last Wednesday night, with Ference planning to drive into a truck as he drove the wrong way on the Turnpike.

    “I was so overwhelmed that I made up my mind that this was it,” posted Ference. “I was going to quit life once and for all. This time for good. I was more determined than ever in my life to commit suicide. I started driving down 195 from Miami Beach and then headed North on 95 ready and determined to get onto the Florida turnpike [sic] and drive the wrong way against traffic and crash my car head on into a truck and kill myself. 15 minutes after I started driving I was almost onto the turnpike. I started saying ‘Shema yisroel Hashem elokeinu Hashem echad.’ First slowly then fast and over and over again. I was overcome with such emotion that I started crying. Crying hysterically to Hashem to help me. To help me with the pain. I was crying so hard and there were so many tears. I pulled over at the entrance to the turnpike and cried non stop for over 10 minutes. That’s the power of faith. That’s the power of Shema. Whenever your [sic] in need and feeling overwhelmed just starting Shema. It helps. Trust me. Hashem listens. A simple prayer. But a powerful one.”

    Ference’s 22-year-old sister, Bracha Ference, told the Sentinel that her brother had battled depression since he was 16 and had been in therapy and on medication to help with the disorder.

    “He definitely had been going through his ups and downs,” she told the paper.

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    35 COMMENTS

    1. burech dyen emes..May he find peace in hashems hands and my condolences to his family. This shows how important is to always try to help someone in desperate need. Maybe if just his neighbors of close friend would of known his severe depression this could of been stopped.

    2. Nebach!! I know just how hard this will be for his family because I had a beloved brother who committed suicide–only difference is we don’t know why. I know it’s against halacha but still I pray that Tzvi will be a meilitz yosher for his family. Rest in peace.

    3. Aside from expressions of grief and condolences that follow tragic news reports like this, there is an observed tendency to either look for someone to blame, or better yet to look for a message we can take from this tragedy to improve our lot in life. Here’s my message.

      Mental illness is equal opportunity, and does not disfavor Yidden. Among our community are people who suffer with the entire gamut of mental illness, including depressions, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, addictions, OCD, and all the rest. These need to be evaluated and treated by those trained to do so. It is completely incompetent to seek advice and guidance from those who are not educated in the field. Rabbonim are wonderful for much, but are generally untrained in psychology and psychiatry. Seek their brachos, perhaps even referrals. But you would not ask a Rav to clear a clogged drain or repair your furnace. Don’t make them into a therapist.

      It is assumed that this victim A”H was under medical care. Tragedies can happen anyway. But to guarantee this with incompetence is tantamount to murder. May HKB”H comfort all avaeilim, and protect us from all danger and disease. Hashem Yishmereinu.

      • B”DH . This young man was a member of our community, under competent medical treatment and had a very supportive, loving family and network of friends.

        I am a postdoc on the review board of BMJ in neurology.

        The Jan 6, 2010 issue of JAMA summarized Cochrane Library databases from January 1980 through March 2009, along with references from meta-analyses and reviews and found the anti depressant medications do not work better than a placebo.

        Additionally these drugs also cause a number of very serious health concerns (ie. diabetes, obesity, impotence, digestive disorders, migraines, etc) that can exacerbate depression.

        A study published Jan 4, 2010 in Med page Today cites research from Columbia University and Johns Hopkins saying that doctors routinely prescribe not one but two or three SSRI’s and other psychopharmological drugs in combination, with few if any serious studies to back up the multiple usage. It’s pretty obvious that the reason for these multiple prescriptions is that if one drug does not work.

        The whole serotonin hypothesis is challenged by these findings.

        Please think about this before you accuse families of not seeking care.

    4. Terrible story. He must have been in an immense amount of emotional pain.
      I am glad that no one else got hurt. Completely selfish in placing others in harm as he did by driving down the wrong way. If you want to commit suicide do not involve or place others in danger. If you are having suicidal thoughts please call the suicide hotline @ 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

      • Posting stories like this is important, if for no other reason than to let others suffering know that they are not alone, that there are hotlines to call, etc. On top of that, mental health issues are stigmatized in the frum community, and stories like this, tragic as they are, can help force the important and needed discussion.

    5. Don’t the people at VIN have any sense of what’s right? What about the niftar’s family? How do you think they must feel, seeing everything splashed all over the Internet? Yes, I am aware he posted on Facebook, but does that mean it’s the right thing for VIN to do the same?

      Mental illness is a terrible thing & very misunderstood. But everyone is entitled to respect & I think you missed the mark.

      May this young man be a gutte bettern for the thousands of Jews suffering from this terrible affliction. Baruch Dayan HaEmet.

      • This story is so sad but unfortunately not is not so uncommon in frum circles as people would like to think. Hiding the truth and not publishing these stories is hiding it under the proverbial rug.
        There are other people out there suffering with the same issues that you and I and yenem have. There are resources out there for every condition and malady that affect our society and there are professionals who have seen it all and help one and all. Publishing the news and the truth around incidents can only help everyone in the long run.

        May his neshoma be a meilitz yosher for all of us.

    6. I can not start to understand why he choose to take his life in such a horrible way.
      first the chesed shel emes members have so much hard work to do just to clean up all blood and bring it to kever yisroel, then just horrific to imaging that if this tractor trailer driver would of flipped over how many more people could of gotten killed by his action to decide to take his life. but we cant ask too many questions because he left behind a grieving family and we all pray they should be able to handle this terrible tragedy and may his neshume have the richtige tikin.

    7. I agree with #7 and #11. Although he rammed his car into a truck, another passenger vehicle could have been “collateral damage”, with innocent motorists being killed or injured. The fact that he posted his intentions on Facebook meant that he was crying out for help. It is a shanda that there wasn’t more done for him (i.e. increasing the dosage of his medications, shock treatment, admission to a mental hospital, etc.). This young man should not have been in the position that he was in.

    8. Suicide is very common in my neighborhood and no one discusses it. So many kids are depressed and not getting treatment due to potential marriage. Everything is hidden until lives are ruined.

    9. Agree with #9. A little dignity vin! Absolutely wrong to post story with individual picture of this incident. The owners & ones in charge of this site are responsible for spreading this horrible story to thousands & causing untold amounts of pain to a suffering family.

      • Perhaps the name of the family should have been excluded, but the picture is welcome. He looks very good on it, and it shows that severe depression can happen to anybody. It can even be to a very close family member and you don’t even know…it can even be to oneself a few years later…

        Whom am I to say anything…but perhaps people have to be taught to see Hashem more through nature and their lives. Learn to be happy with your teeth, the sun, the ability to walk and breath, the permanent tilt of the moon, all the animals, etc.

        BTW, maybe get some friendly pets such as parrot, dog, cat, fish, etc.

    10. Please all understand that people do not commit suicide the same way someone chalilah takes another life. It is the most painful struggle a human can endure. One who does not suffer like this can not possibly comprehend what it is like to want to take your own life. Everyone wants to live but for some it is constant hell. This story should be spread so we all can better learn and understand that this is real and not just someone having a bad day.

    11. this was extremely tragic … but i live in florida and i know the actual place that this happened (traveled it often) and it is absolutely beyond miraculous that the entire turnpike was not strewn with bodies and twisted vehicles …. depression is even more tragic when you cannot think of anyone else but oneself – it becomes more than depression when you create a situation where so many other lives could have been lost …. this man clearly lost out on a proper diagnosis that could have saved his life and not put so many others at risk for losing theirs …….

    12. To #5 and #13. Please learn a little and research a little before judging and posting. Years ago suicides were always buried separately and treated as Pariahs. Nowadays we know a bit more about mental illness.

      In most cases of suicide the psak din is that the niftar was an oness and they are buried and treated like any other accidental death. I am sure that will be the case here. The niftar was clearly ill and needed help and this prompted this terrible course of action. I don’t think any rov would pasken otherwise, and your harsh judgements are unwelcome.

      We as a community should be looking at the stigma we attach to mental illness and the inability of this young man to obtain the help he needed. That is the bigger sin.

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