Slain rabbi mourned in Brooklyn; police have not ruled out a hate crime

A mourner touches the coffin of Orthodox Rabbi Joseph Raksin on Monday in Brooklyn. Raksin was fatally shot Saturday while in Florida visiting relatives.

Slain rabbi mourned in Brooklyn

Kelli Kennedy

Associated Press

Hundreds of mourners on Monday followed the casket of a New York rab­bi who was gunned down in Miami, and police said that though they have not ruled out a hate crime, the weekend incident ap­peared to be a robbery gone bad.

Joseph Raksin, de­scribed as a quiet, kind man, was in town visiting his children when he headed out for temple at Bais Menachem on Satur­day morning. The 60-year­old was approached by two young men blocks from the temple — one on bicycle, the other on foot, according to police. In an altercation, Raksin was shot, authorities said.

At a news conference Monday in Miami, police offered no new details and asked the community to come forward with any information. “We understand the grief, the anxiety and the anguish that comes from a cowardly act like this and we share in this communi­ty’s urgency to find the perpetrators of this act,” Major Hector Llevat said.

Preliminary investiga­tions indicate the incident was a robbery, he said. Be­cause it was the Sabbath, the rabbi was not carrying his wallet, but authorities said the suspects may not have known that. “Right now there are no indications that it was a hate crime … however, we are not closing that door,” Llevat said. Raksin’s death comes as the close-knit Orthodox community is already on edge. Last month, swasti­kas were spray-painted on a synagogue a few blocks away. Early Mon­day, a car in the neighbor­hood was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti. “We should come out of this darkness not with de­spair, not with lack of hope, not with hate but with courage and confi­dence that the evil will be vanquished and good will prevail,” said Rabbi Phin­eas Weberman, president of the Rabbinical Council of South Florida and a chaplain with the depart­ment.

Meanwhile, hundreds of mourners gathered outside Chabad-Luba­vitch headquarters Mon­day morning in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the Orthodox enclave where Raksin lived. Many paid their respects by pouring onto the street and crowd­ing around the hearse when it stopped in the middle of the block. The victim’s younger brother, Mendel Raksin, said he believed his broth­er’s faith was a factor in the death — a view shared by other mourners. “If he wasn’t Jewish, he probably wouldn’t have been stopped or robbed or mugged or shot to death,” he said.

The victim, the third oldest of nine siblings, was “an honest and sin­cere person,” his broth­er said. “He prayed three times a day. … He was always out there helping somebody else.”

Rabbi Shea Hecht, a lifelong friend of Raksin in Crown Heights, said he viewed his friend’s death as a reminder of growing anti-Semitism around the world. “A person who was a very peace-loving per­son, who lived a very quiet life, a very pious life — for him to be taken in this way, the shock and pain is very great,” he said. “He was a per­son who did not like the limelight. Now the eyes of the world are upon him.”


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1 Response to Slain rabbi mourned in Brooklyn; police have not ruled out a hate crime

  1. a12iggymom says:

    Reblogged this on U.S. Constitutional Free Press.


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