Rabbi Abraham Abraham, the Coney Island-based leader of a winter swim group who was also known for stunts like living in an ice house, died one year ago on May 18 of bone cancer in Manhattan. He was 77.
Abraham, born on June 17, 1933 as Abraham Navitsky, was a Herculean figure who channelled the honky-tonk spirit of Coney Island through his zany feats and religious stage name. Abraham wasn’t a practicing rabbi with a congregation, but most say that his persona was more than appropriate.
“He was a self-styled rabbi,” said his son, Mayer Navitsky. “He was charismatic, majestic and would call on everyone to swim with him. Coney Island was his congregation.”