Updated: It is with great sadness that we report that Rabbi Yosef Raksin z”l of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY, was shot to death this morning on a northeast Miami-Dade street while he was walking to shul. He was 60 years old.
Miami-Dade Police said Rabbi Raksin was walking on NE 175th Street near NE 8th Court at around 9:00 a.m. when two men went up to him. Police said one of the men was on a bicycle and the other on foot. Rabbi Raksin was immediately shot and killed.
“I was coming back to the area this morning about 15, 20 after nine and I saw the police setting up a crime scene,” said a neighbor named Louis. The men were able to get away.
Rabbi Raksin was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he later passed away. Police don’t yet know the reason for the shooting. Neighbors say there have been crimes in the area.
“There were houses broken into a few weeks ago a month or so ago. Anything’s possible,” Louis added.
“I think the problem is we live so close to 95 it’s real quick in and out of the neighborhood you come do your little robbery and you’re off,” added a neighbor named Rich. “The people who robbed them don’t understand the orthodox people on the Sabbath don’t carry money. It’s happened before when they stick guns in people’s face.”
Rabbi Raksin was employed by Landau Vitamins & Supplements.
The Anti-Defamation League released a statement this afternoon from Hava Holzhauer, the ADL Regional Director which said: “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. We appreciate the professionalism that the Miami-Dade Police Department has shown in securing all the evidence surrounding the crime and assuring that this investigation remains an exceptionally high priority. Let us hope that the culprits are swiftly apprehended and brought to justice. At this time, it appears to be a robbery that went badly. Currently no evidence has been brought to light that it was motivated by anti-Semitism. While our community is on high alert due to recent anti-Semitic incidents that have coincided with hostilities in the Middle East, we must be careful not to assume this was a hate-motivated crime unless or until such information is discovered and released by law enforcement.”
Rabbi Raksin was in South Florida to visit his granddaughter and other relatives.
Brian Siegal, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Miami and Broward Regional Office, said he believes the shooting may be connected to the recent act of vandalism at the nearby Torah V’Emunah shul. On July 28, police reported that swastikas were spray-painted on the front pillars of a Northeast Miami-Dade shul, which has left the local Jewish community on edge, especially amid the heightened tension in Israel.
Rabbi Raksin is survived by his mother, Mrs. Yehudis Raksin of Crown Heights; his siblings, Mrs. Shterna Levitin, Mrs. Nechama Losh, R’ Mendel Raksin, R’ Lazer Raksin, R’ Boruch Raksin, R’ Zalman Raksin, Mrs. Chani Begun and Mrs. Gitty Neuwirth; his wife, Mrs. Faigy Raksin; and his children, Mrs. Shuli Labkowski (North Miami Beach), Mrs. Mushky Ezagui (Palm Beach), Zalman Moshe Raksin, Menachem Mendel Raksin, Avrohom Boruch Raksin and Lazer Raksin; and grandchildren, who are following in his ways.
CBS Local Miami/Matzav.com News