by Lauren Pastrana, CBS Miami
Family and friends of Rabbi Yosef Raksin gathered Tuesday evening for a street side service in his memory.
“Thirty days ago, my father-in-law walked out from my house. He went to shul, a place of light, and on the way, right here, he was murdered,” Raksin’s son-in law Israel Labkowski said.
Police still haven’t made any arrests in the month-old case out of Northeast Miami-Dade, believed to be a robbery gone violently wrong.
“Only thing I know is that he’s with us here. He’s taking care of us, he’s looking after us,” Labkowski explained.
The memorial service was held at the spot where Raksin was killed, the corner of NE 8th Court and 175 Street.
During the service, a Torah scroll was begun. According to Jewish tradition, each of the more than 300,000 letters of the Torah must be perfect, or the entire scroll is invalidated. Some compare that to the link between each member in the community.
“Each person is a valued, intricate part of the community,” Abi Friedman said. “When one gets damaged, or God forbid in this case gets murdered, it affects everybody.”
Perhaps, no one more so than the Rabbi’s daughter, Shuli.
“When I was sitting here the first time I passed by, I started crying, because it felt real,” Shuli Labkowski said of her first time going by the street corner where her father was gunned down.
She worries about the recent rash of crimes in which her brothers and sisters in faith have been victimized.
“There was a synagogue that was vandalized this morning. There was synagogue vandalized here. There’s a rabbi that was killed 30 days ago. There have been anti-semitic things yelled at kids when they walk down the street here. That has to be addressed,” Yehuda Kaploun with the Orthodox Alliance of Florida said.
With the Jewish High Holidays fast approaching, the faithful are praying for safety and justice. “We are going to dispel the darkness and bring in light and grow from it,” Labkowski said.
A new campaign called America’s Torah launched at the ceremony. The concept is to start the writing of a bible scroll that will travel around the United States and be completed along the way.
Organizers say the goal of the scroll is to “unite people from all walks of life and spreading a message of goodness, kindness and morality, while offering opportunities for education and dialogue throughout the U.S. ”