On Nov. 22 at 6 a.m., at the intersection of La Brea and Oakwood avenues, Berish Landau, 88, was killed while crossing the same street in the same way he did every morning — on his way to pray and study at Kollel Yechiel Yehuda in Hancock Park. A car was coming too fast, didn’t see him and ran him over.
An active member of the Orthodox community, Berish was struck by a Plymouth Voyager. The car also hit a second pedestrian, Rabbi Shmuel Jacobs. Like Berish, Jacobs is an active member of the Hancock Park community, and he was trying to help the slow-moving Berish across the street when the car struck them both.
Jacobs, a teacher at Yeshiva Rav Isacsohn Toras Emes, was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for treatment. The driver, who stopped after the incident, was not arrested.
Landau was crossing in a pedestrian zone, using his walker and moving slowly, when Jacobs came over to help him cross the street. The light had turned from green to red while Landau was still in the street, and the car hit both men. For months, Jacobs has helped Landau cross the street every morning. He would always watch from the window of Bais Yehuda, waiting for Landau, and when he arrived, would leave in the middle of services with his phylacteries still on to help Landau cross the road.
Landau’s son, Rabbi Yona Landau, is the founder of Touch of Kindness, a social services agency that facilitates food distribution to the needy. Yona Landau also “maintains a few apartments for people to stay in when they come through Los Angeles on missions to collect charity,” The Journal’s Julie Gruenbaum Fax wrote when the younger Landau was highlighted in The Jewish Journal’s 2010 Mensches issue.
Berish Landau was originally from Galicia, an Eastern European region divided by Poland and Ukraine. He lived in Siberia for some time, against his will, after the Russians invaded Poland during World War II. He later lived in New York, until his wife died, and had been living in Los Angeles with his son since his wife’s passing.