Tzvi Ainsworth, 68, and Itty Ainsworth, 66: Devoted parents and Chabad community pillars

July 6, 2021 by  
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Modest and dignified, Tzvi and Itty Ainsworth were beloved by all who knew them and were noted for their generous hospitality and devotion towards helping others in need.

They have been formally identified as victims of the collapse of the Champlain Towers in Miami’s Surfside.

Friends note how Tzvi Ainsworth would arrive each day without fail at the Chabad centre in Double Bay, Australia, tefillin in hand, and would assist people in performing the mitzvah. In their quiet and unassuming manner, the Ainsworths touched many lives with their sincere desire to spread goodness and kindness to those around them. They were identified on Monday, July 5, as victims of the Champlain Towers South building collapse in Surfside, Fla.

Tzvi Ainsworth was visiting family in Montreal, where he was introduced to Itty Fellig more than four decades ago. The two married and settled in his native Sydney, Australia. In recent years, the Ainsworths moved to Florida, where several of their adult children had settled. There, they doted on their grandchildren and enjoyed spending time with many of their extended family members.

Leah Berger, a longtime family friend of the Ainsworths, told that the couple was loved by all and served as a source of strength for those around them. Having spent a few months with the Ainsworths in Israel recently, she was a firsthand witness of their love and dedication towards one another, and their strong sense of belief and trust in G‑d. “They were always laughing and joking together,” said Berger. “They had a hilarious sense of humor.”

“Every person she encountered, ever in her life, became her friend. Everyone was treated as equals,” wrote her daughter Chana Wasserman in a Mother’s Day blog post. “The guy at the laundromat, the guy working at the fruit market. … I know I will never be able to match my mother’s pure enthusiasm for life but it’s inspiring to watch,” wrote Wasserman.

Though Itty Ainsworth suffered from chronic pain, her condition didn’t hold her back from spreading her warmth and love with those she met. A strong proponent of positive thinking, she constantly looked at the bright side of life celebrating life’s small joys. “At times when she was struggling herself, she was giving others strength,” said Berger. “Everyone who knew Itty felt like her best friend.”

“Tzvi and Itty’s children and grandchildren were their world,” said Berger. Even as the days wore on since the tower’s collapse, their children told news reporters that they were holding tightly to the faith that their parents were still alive. We are believers, sons of believers; we believe in miracles, we believe in G‑d,” they said.

“And that’s exactly what their mother would say,” said Berger.

The Ainsworths’ son and daughter-in-law welcomed a daughter into the world on June 24, the day of the collapse.

In Sydney, Rabbi Pinchus Feldman told J-Wire that he has been in constant touch with Tzvi Ainsworth. He said: “I heard from home only a matter a few weeks ago. Usually, he had a religious question he needed an answer for. He was a member of my community in Bondi for years. He went to Rabbi Yanky Berger’s synagogue in Double Bay every single day apart from Shabbat and the Chagim to assist a Holocaust survivor to help him lay tefillin. There is not a single person who could find a negative word to say about the Ainsworths. This is a very sad day for those who knew them.”

This report is from Rochel Horowitz at with additional material from J-Wire.

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