UPDATED: Two Prominent Jewish-American Families Killed in Tragic New Year’s Eve Plane Crash

Mitchell, 52, and Leslie Levin Weiss, 50, their 19-year-old daughter Hannah Mae, were killed in the plane crash in Costa Rica. Ari Moses Weiss, 16, has also been reported as dead after the tragedy. FACEBOOK
Florida doctors Mitchell and Leslie Weiss, and their daughter, Hannah Weiss, a 19-year-old student at Columbia University and their 16-year-old son Ari Moses Weiss, were among those killed in a small plane crash in northwest Costa Rica, which crashed only minutes after take off.

Hannah Weiss (2nd from right) and friends on a recent Birthright Israel trip.

Rabbi Jacob Luski, of Congregation B’nai Israel in Boca Raton, Florida, said the Weisses were active members of the Jewish community.

‘It’s a tragic loss,’ said Rabbi Jacob Luski, of the Congregation B’nai Israel, where the Weiss family attended.

Hannah Weiss LEFT, on a recent Birthright Israel trip, with a friend. FACEBOOK

‘I just saw the mom and the daughter last week after Friday evening services,’ Luski said. ‘They will be sorely missed. It’s a real tragedy for their families and the community at large.’

Dr. Leslie Weiss (Facebook)

Leslie and Mitchell Weiss left the Philadelphia area around 2005, relocating to Belleair, Fla., according to public records. They were both licensed as practicing physicians, Mitchell a radiologist and Leslie a pediatrician, who were affiliated with local hospitals. The couple had previously lived in Plymouth Meeting, PA. Their daughter Hannah was a student at Columbia University.

Bruce and Irene Steinberg of Scarsdale, New York, and their sons Matthew, 13; William, 18, a student at the University of Pennsylvania; and Zachary, 19, a student at John Hopkins University, were victims of the crash, relatives told reporters.

The Steinbergs.

Bruce Steinberg, 50, worked in investment banking, and Irene Steinberg, 51, was active with the UJA-Federation of New York, according to the New York Post.

‘She was a devoted leader to Jewish causes,’ Richman added. ‘She was particularly concerned about passing on this love of the Jewish people to the next generation.  ‘We are deeply saddened by this immense tragedy.’

The Steinberg family from New York.

Irene and Bruce are also said to have donated thousands of dollars to Seeds of Peace, a U.S.-based organisation which focuses on peace-building between young Israelis and Palestinians.

William, a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, was also involved in Seeds of Peace, and his aunt revealed on Facebook he had been planning a career in politics.

Partial passenger list on the doomed flight.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Class Board 2021 shared its condolences on Facebook.

‘We are very shocked and saddened to hear about the death of William Steinberg and his family,’ the message read. ‘We still cannot believe that they died so unexpectedly. Many of us knew Will very closely, he was such a wonderful person who blessed Penn with his amazing smile everyday. Together we mourn the death of a friend, a peer, and a promising scholar who would have went on to change the world.

The plane wreckage

Rabbi Jonathan Blake of the Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale told The Post that relatives of the Steinbergs and the community, were “deeply hurting.”

“All the Steinbergs will be remembered by their Scarsdale and the temple community as among the most devoted to the welfare of the Jewish community and the beauty of the Jewish tradition. They will be deeply missed,” Blake said.

The plane, a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, was owned and operated by Nature Air and piloted by Juan Manuel Retana.

The plane wreckage

Retana was the cousin of former Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla. She took to Twitter on New Year’s Eve to convey the news of her cousin’s death.

“A fatality has intruded into our family celebrations,” Chinchilla wrote. “Our beloved cousin has died as part of the crew of the burning plane in Guanacaste. Strength to his children and siblings, and peace to his remains. You will remain in our hearts, beloved #JuanManuelRetana.”