by Stephen Oryszczuk

An urgent appeal to cover the funeral costs of an Orthodox man from Golders Green who died in an M1 crash on Sunday raised more than £20,000 in a matter of hours, but friends say more is needed for his wife who was seriously injured.

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Paramedics at the scene of the M1 crash that killed Naftali Rebibo, 65, and left his wife Rivka with serious injuries

Naftali Rebibo, 65, who worked at Kosher Deli, was on his way back from dropping off his granddaughter and stepdaughter at Luton Airport when his car was involved in the motorway collision. Rebibo died at the scene, while his wife Rivka was left in a critical condition, requiring extensive surgery. She is now understood to need long-term care.

“It shattered her legs,” said family friend Carol-Ann Bendahan, who organised the appeal together with her husband Jack, the owner of Kosher Deli. “As part of her rehabilitation, she now needs a special bed costing £6,500. Anything left after the funeral costs will go to support her.”

The couple said they had been “overwhelmed by the outpouring and generosity” of community members, who pledged “anything from £10 to £5,000”. The funds covered the cost of flights to Israel and the burial plot.

“We knew they didn’t have money, so we took it upon ourselves to start an appeal,” said Bendahan ahead of Wednesday’s funeral. “You’d always see him on Golders Green Road with a smile and kind word. He touched everyone’s life.”

Naftali was well-known around the area, but had suffered from ill health in recent months, having had a serious stroke and required a kidney transplant.

Those wishing to pledge money to support Rivka can do so through Kosher Deli stores or by emailing jackbendahan@hotmail.com. The UK registered charity is Beth Hamedrash Knesset Yehezkel.