Orthodox rabbi gunned down in broad daylight in Miami
An othodox rabbi visiting family from New York was on his way to a local synogogue when he was shot by two young males. Police say Joseph Raskin was killed when the two males accosted him and. after an altercation, shot him several times.
One eyewitness says there was no altercation - that the young men approached and shot him. Another eyewitness said that he was walking ahead of his grandson and son-in-law.
Police and the local Anti-Defamation League are both saying it was apparently a robbery gone bad., But police are still investigating and a spate of recent acts of vandalism have people wondering.
Late Saturday, Hava Holzhauer, the Anti-Defamation League Florida Regional Director, whose organization has been in close contact with Miami-Dade homicide investigators, said the crime “appears to be a robbery that went badly.”
“Currently no evidence has been brought to light that it was motivated by anti-Semitism,” Holzhauer said.
Said Holzhauer: “This is a terrible tragedy. While the motivation for this crime is still being investigated, nothing can justify the killing of an innocent man walking to his place of worship to pray on his holy day.”
Miami-Dade police have not commented on whether the shooting was connected to a robbery attempt on Raksin.
Yona Lunger, a local Jewish community activist and member of the Shmira Patrol — a neighborhood watch group — confirmed to the Miami Herald late Saturday that Raksin was an Orthodox rabbi from Brooklyn who was in South Florida to visit his granddaughter and other relatives.
Efforts to reach the relatives were unsuccessful.
Raksin was on his way to Bais Menachem, 1005 NE 172nd Ter., when he was shot, said Lunger, who spoke to one witness who told him that — contrary to what Miami-Dade police reported — Raksin had no altercation with the two young men. He said the witness, whom he did not identify, told him that Raksin was shot immediately after the two approached him on Northeast 175th Street.
Another local Jewish community leader, Brian Siegal, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Miami and Broward Regional Office, said he believes Raksin’s shooting may be connected to the recent act of vandalism at the nearby Torah V’Emunah, an Orthodox synagogue, 1000 NE 174th St.
On July 28, police reported that swastikas were spray-painted on the front pillars of a Northeast Miami-Dade synagogue, which has left the local Jewish community on edge, especially amid the heightened tension between Israel and Palestinians over the conflict in Gaza.
Said Siegal: “Our deepest condolences to the [Raksin] family for this tragic loss. We are confident the police will take the matter seriously and will give them time to investigate. Coming so soon and so close to the synagogue that was vandalized last week with swastikas and pro-Hamas graffiti, obviously we’re suspicious that it’s linked, but that remains to be seen.”
Anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide. Jews in Europe are fleeing. Why couldn't it happen in America? Leftists here have been hysterical in their denunciations of Israel. It's more than possible that if this was, indeed, a hate crime, the liberal's anti-Israel rhetoric could have inspired an attack like this.