As the body of Rabbi Yosef Raksin was laid to rest on Monday, leaders in the Jewish community expressed commitment to seeing absolute justice served. Rabbi Raksin was murdered by two black teens as he walked in broad daylight to morning services at a North Miami Beach synagogue. He was visiting Miami from New York and was staying with his daughter and grandchildren.
At funeral processions in Miami and Brooklyn, mourners expressed dismay that the Miami-Dade Police Department was so quick to downplay the probability of anti-Semitism. Eyewitnesses confirmed there was no altercation to suggest this was a robbery gone bad. Some have cited a “Crime by Time” study by Rutgers University professors showing that only 2% of robberies happen between 9 and 10 am when Yosef was killed, leaving a 98% chance for an ulterior motive.
Two weeks ago, swastikas were found spray painted on a synagogue near where Yosef was murdered. As anti-Israel and anti-Jewish violence sweeps across cities in Europe, many Jews see other alarming resemblances to pre-Holocaust Germany.
New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind released the following statement:
With everything that’s going on in the world—with the obvious and documented increase in anti-Semitic incidents—there is naturally great concern in the community regarding the tragic murder of Rabbi Joseph Raksin. I share this concern. This certainly could be more than a simple robbery and we shouldn’t be hasty to dismiss the likelihood that this murder was indeed a hate crime until there is hard police evidence to the contrary. Rabbi Raksin was clearly identifiable as a Jew—as a religious Jew—when he was shot and killed. We ask that no one reach any conclusions until there is conclusive proof. [DovHikind.com]
Barry Sugar, director of the New York-based Jewish Leadership Council released the following statement:
There are those who are quick to dismiss the possibility of an anti-Jewish motive. In this case, it is difficult to believe that Yosef’s prayer shawl, white beard and black coat had absolutely no influence on his murderers. The headlines all stress that Yosef was a rabbi walking to synagogue prayers. Who he was and where he was headed are what make his story newsworthy.
We are very proud of our people’s peaceful contribution to societies throughout history. We are also very aware of the persecution we’ve suffered in each of those times and places and we’ll stand up proudly to protect our rights in this great country of freedom.
The least we can do for a murdered man and a mourning family is to follow the facts until the murderers are caught and the true motive established.
(Press Release / YWN World Headquarters – NYC / Photo by: Baruch Ezagui)