Sophomore Hannah Weiss, a student at the School of General Studies and the Jewish Theological Seminary, died in a plane crash in Costa Rica on Sunday, according to an email sent to students by a JTS administrator. She was 19 years old.
The crash claimed the lives of 12 people, including both of Weiss’ parents and her 16-year-old brother. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the crash, according to the Associated Press.
Weiss, a native of St. Petersburg, Florida, studied Sustainable Development and Jewish Thought through a joint degree program between GS and List College, JTS’ undergraduate school. She was heavily involved in sustainability efforts on and around campus.
“Her passion for sustainable development was evident through her schoolwork as well as the endless hours she spent volunteering to bring sustainable food options to underprivileged communities in Harlem,” AJ Yablonsky, one of Weiss’ friends and GS/JTS ’20, said.
Friends and classmates said Weiss will be remembered for her warm personality and dedicated activism.
“Hannah was fantastic, bubbly, and free-spirited. She always had a smile on her face and cared immensely about the environment, her peers, and sustainability,” Brett Krasner, GS/JTS ’17, said.
“One of Hannah’s most admirable qualities was her dedication [to] always standing up for what she knew was right and taking action when she knew it was necessary. She inspired others to work toward good in a way that only she, with her radiating positivity, generosity, and love, could,” Danu Rojzman, GS/JTS ’20, said.
Weiss devoted her life to making the world a better place, friends said.
“Hannah is the friend that everyone needs in their life,” Jillian Axelrod, GS/JTS ’20, said. “She was unabashedly honest about her thoughts, authentic in her actions, intentional with how she treated the Earth, and dedicated to making every community she was in more equal and inclusive.”
“She was a bright light in a universe that sometimes feels dark and lonely,” Gabe Pont, GS/JTS ’20, said.
Dean of List College Shuly Schwartz announced the news in an email to students yesterday.
Read the full email below:
It is with deep sorrow that I share the tragic news that Hannah Weiss and her family were killed in a plane crash earlier today. Hannah was a wonderful student, great, friend, strong leader, and a beloved member of our community. Above all, she was deeply passionate about the environment. Hannah worked tirelessly to secure composting and other initiatives at JTS and inspired us all to intensify our individual efforts to protect our planet. She will be sorely missed. May her memory serve as a blessing for us all.
I’ll share further details as they become available, including opportunities to grieve together as well as to access counseling support.
Shuly R. Schwarz”