Yoram Hirshfeld, 78, and his daughter – Noga Hirshfeld, 40, a Cambridge physicist – were killed after a black Alfa Romeo collided with five pedestrians outside a multi-storey car park in Ramsgate, Kent, on Wednesday night.
Amnon Eden, 54, who lives in Essex, reflected fondly on the first time he met Mr Hirshfeld around 25 years ago, when the latter, who was a mathematics professor, stood in as a substitute for his first year algebra lecturer at Tel Aviv University in Israel.
For the first time ever the lecture immediately made sense. Perhaps the best example ever for the difference that a great teacher can make
“For the first time ever the lecture immediately made sense. Perhaps the best example ever for the difference that a great teacher can make,” the principal scientist at think tank sapience.org told the PA news agency.
“His teaching was legendary. He knew how to explain complex math at the highest order in a way that even I, not a mathematician, and dyslexic to boot, could understand.”
Mr Hirshfeld became Mr Eden’s master’s and PhD co-supervisor when he studied computer science and he said that when he “needed help with mathematical logic, he was there to guide me”.
He said he was sorry that his former professor died in “such a tragic and unnecessary manner”.
Despite moving to Essex in 2002 to take up a post as a lecturer at the University of Essex, the scientist spent many holidays with Mr Hirshfeld at his home in Rosh Pina, in upper Galilee, and also saw him and his family at their home “frequently” as a student.
Mr Eden’s son Saul, then just a few years old, also took a particular liking to the academic.
“He radiated so much kindness, the first time my son Saul met him he jumped to his arms and hugged him,” he said.
Yoram deserves an obituary of sorts for being the greatest teacher and a brilliant mathematician... Yoram was special.
He added: “Yoram deserves an obituary for being the greatest teacher and a brilliant mathematician.
“I’ve lived in five countries (Israel, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, and the UK) and worked with thousands of people… (but) Yoram was special.”
Tributes have also been paid to Ms Hirshfeld, also known as Noga Sella, who was a girl guides leader with 2nd Milton Guides and Milton Rangers in Cambridgeshire.
On Facebook, Girlguiding Cambridgeshire East said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Noga Sella, Leader with 2nd Milton Guides & Milton Rangers.
“Noga passed away on Wednesday evening, as a result of a tragic accident whilst on holiday in Ramsgate.
“Please keep her family and friends in your thoughts and prayers at this time.”
Oded Sharon, a friend who met Ms Hirshfeld when they studied together at university, said: “We went to university together 20 years ago and became close friends back then.
“We shared a sense of humour and bonded over geeky things like Star Trek. Noga was one of the kindest, smartest, rare kind of good people I knew.”
There were further fatalities as a result of the crash, with a girl of primary school age being taken to a London hospital for treatment for serious injuries, Kent Police said, adding that all the pedestrians were members of the same family.
A vigil was held on Thursday evening on Leopold Street, Ramsgate, to pay tribute to the family.