From The Editor
By Larry Gordon
They were two murders days and worlds apart.
In North Miami Beach, Florida this past Shabbos, Yosef Raksin set out on a walk to a nearby shul. What can be more routine, pleasant and uneventful? He was visiting his children and grandchildren on a beautiful and warm post Tisha B’Av Shabbos Nachmu. What precisely happened after that is still a mystery. Witnesses said he was set upon by two young black men. All that we know about the altercation is that a moment later Rabbi Raksin was shot and died.
I, of course recognize Raksin from my early days in Yeshiva in Brooklyn. I know his brothers and always saw and recognized his father when I used to see him on Kingston Avenue. He is survived by his elderly mother. I knew the family but at the same time it has been a lot of years since I explored that connection. One sister and her family reside in Woodmere. There are a lot of boys in the family and I do not recognize or know them all.
Yet the reaction to the murder was concern but also a stunned silence. We accept decrees of this nature despite their ambiguousness and senselessness. We believe in and trust Hashem. The police in Miami have so far only said that in their estimation it was not a hate crime but rather an event of a criminal nature that has yet to be thoroughly investigated or solved. Our community is calmly and quietly concerned that it might be an anti-Semitic hate crime. That angle is being looked into. We as much as the authorities out there do not want it to be that.
But in this advanced day and age what criminal does not know that Orthodox Jews do not carry money with them on Shabbos? Maybe that is only common knowledge in New York and that message has still not reached the miscreants out there. That is also doubtful considering that there were swastikas painted last week on the door or a nearby shul in Miami. In the meantime it is only a few days and we await the findings of the authorities.
The story in Ferguson, Missouri outside of St. Louis is far different. There over last weekend an 18-year-old black man was killed by police. Local authorities say that the young man has pushed a police officer and was trying to reach for the cops gun. Of course other stories from alleged witnesses contradict that of the police officer. As a reaction to the murder, even over these last few days as police investigate– there has been rioting in the streets deep into the night and looting of all kinds of local businesses.
Liquor and electronic stores as well as sporting goods and a tire shop were boken onto over these last few nights and emptied out by rioting looters. It is an apparent tradition but just what is the connection between being unhappy about a perceived injustice and committing wanton robbery and causing mayhem in the streets? More in this weeks 5TJT