Prominent rabbi ID'd as victim in Princeton crash; charges filed

March 29, 2013 2:35:22 PM PDT
Charges have been filed in a chain reaction crash that killed a prominent rabbi in Princeton, New Jersey on Thursday.


Police say 20-year-old Eric Maltz was speeding down Riverside Drive on Thursday morning when he lost control.

Maltz's vehicle slammed into 74-year-old James Diamond while he got into a parked car, killing him instantly.

Rabbi Diamond served as the director of Princeton University's Center for Jewish Life, providing religious, cultural and counseling help to the university community.

Rabbi Julie Roth, who now runs the center, spoke highly about the man she replaced.

"He had a combination of a brilliant mind, he was very knowledgeable, and the ability to be so down to earth and warm and caring," said Rabbi Roth.

She says the center has been flooded with emails and calls from around the country as former students and colleagues learn of the beloved rabbi's death.

"He was a very sweet welcoming man who was always willing to get into a discussion with you," said Anna Rubin, student.

Rabbi Diamond had just come out of a morning study group with other rabbis when he was killed.

His friend, 63-year-old Rabbi Robert Freedman was injured in the crash. Freedman is the cantor at the Society Hill synagogue in Center City.

Rabbi Anne Tucker says Diamond will be remembered as a kind teacher who was always able to reach people.

"He was a very gentle, humble, sweet soul and he had a way of connecting with people and really touching them and making them feel heard and listened to," she said.

Meanwhile Rabbi Diamond is survived by his wife and three children.

Funeral services will be held Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at the Jewish Center of Princeton.