Anti-Semitic hate crime feared in Miami

A rabbi was murdered on his way to synagogue in Miami. The perps are at large.

The Jewish community of Miami, Florida, is offering a reward in the amount of $50,000 for information leading to arrests of the alleged perpetrators of a murder that has frightened a city otherwise accustomed to violent crime. On August 9, Rabbi Joseph Raksin hy''d, 60, was shot to death as he walked to a local synagogue, Bais Menachem Chabad. According to the Miami Herald, there are reports that he was shot by two young African-American males who then fled after committing the deed.
 
Family members, friends, and other members of the Crown Heights Jewish community of New York had arrived in Florida last week to visit his daughter for one week. Elehana Giezinsky, 56, told the New York Post that her community is not accepting the current theory bruited about by Miami police that this was an ordinary robbery attempt and murder. "It was not a robbery. The criminal element in Miami and New York knows that the Orthodox (Jews) don’t carry money on the Sabbath," she said. She added that the murder has left the rabbi's wife and six children "shocked and devastated." Lieb Ezagui, the rabbi's son-in-law, fears that "he was targeted because he was Jewish. They walked up and shot him and just walked away cold. They didn’t even try to rob him."
 
Linking the rabbi's violent death to events elsewhere in the world. Shimon Goldner said "a rabbi gunned down on the Sabbath is not a robbery, it’s a murder. Jews all over the world are being killed." Anti-semitism is blossoming all over the world. According to a study by the World Zionist Organization, as of July of this year, there was an increase of over 383% in cases of anti-Semitism compared to the same month in the previous year. Anti-semitic incidents in France, for example, have increased dramatically over the last few years. In 2012, a Moroccan Muslim man shot and killed several children and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse. Incidents have increased elsewhere, even in England where over the August 9-10 weekend an anti-Semitic member of the British parliament declared the town of Bradford 'Jew-free.'
 
The Torah V'Emunah synagogue, near the scene of the rabbi's death in North Miami Beach, was vandalized on July 28, with swastikas and the word "Hamas" scrawled in spray-paint, lending credence to the claims of a hate crime. On a previous Saturday, residents of the predominantly Jewish neighborhood around Meridian Avenue in Miami Beach on their way to synagogue services found that their cars had been vandalized. Two vehicles were covered in eggs and cream cheese, and the words "Hamas" and "Jew" were written on the car windows.
 
Miami-Dade police are investigating the synagogue vandalism, while Miami Beach police are looking into the damage done to the cars. At the time CBS posted its story, there was no direct evidence linking the two incidents. Police are asking anyone with information to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers, at 305-471-TIPS.


Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

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