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Mothers of Two Friends Killed During Sandy Forge Unique Bond

‘I feel like our souls are connected because our children died together’

Rachel Silberstein
October 31, 2013

One year after Hurricane Sandy, the mothers of Jessie Streich-Kest and Jacob Vogelman, childhood friends killed by a tree during the storm while walking Streich-Kest’s dog in Ditmas Park, have found friendship in tragedy, reports DNAinfo.

“I feel like our souls are connected because our children died together,” said Fran Streich, Streich-Kest’s mother who lost her husband, renowned activist Jon Kest, just one month later.

“If I’m feeling like I can’t breathe or I’m going to have a stroke, when I text Fran she’s often in the same place,” said Vogelman’s mother Marcia Sikowitz. “She’s not judging and she understands there’s nothing she can do. She listens.”

Streich-Kest, an activist like her father, had just started teaching at the Bushwick School for Social Justice, and Vogelman was an MFA theater student at Brooklyn College and had been working on the set for a play. Vogelman had ridden his bike over to Streich-Kest’s apartment to help her walk her dog, Max, who was badly wounded by the fallen tree but survived overnight. Streich adopted Max, but told DNAinfo that he is not himself since the accident, “He used to howl whenever he’d see people, he was so excited, but he doesn’t howl anymore.”

This week, the Ditmas Park community paid tribute to the memory of the two promising young lives cut short by Sandy.

Rachel Silberstein is a writer living in New York.