A South Florida community came together Sunday to remember a New York rabbi who was gunned down near a South Florida synagogue as loved ones prepare to embark on a mission of peace and healing across America.
Upbeat music played in the middle of the Northeast Miami-Dade Jewish neighborhood where the daughter of Rabbi Yosef Raksin lives with her family. Shuli (Raksin) Labkowski and her family surrounded an RV trailer painted with the Rabbi’s portrait, the Seven Universal Laws and the logo “America’s Torah.” “I believe in my heart that this brings peace to all of us in the community and deters us into kindness,” said community activist Yona Lumger, a friend of Raksin’s family.
Raksin was robbed and shot dead on his Saturday morning walk to synagogue along Northeast 175th Street and Eighth Court, Aug. 9. The 60-year-old rabbi was visiting Shuli and her family from Crown Heights, Brooklyn. “Very emotional, very, very emotional; brings back old memories,” she said.
Inside the trailer, they will rewrite every letter of the Torah as it travels cross country. “This reengages the community that says, ‘From a very bad situation, we will move forward, we will educate, we will engage, we will embrace, we will be inclusive,” said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman.
As the trailer travels through all contiguous 48 states, those who knew Raksin hope it will work to spread his word of faith, love, and tolerance. “My father, he was was very humble. He was a very humble man, and he would smile his beautiful smile, and he would say ‘thank you,'” said Shuli.
Meanwhile, police in South Florida continue to search for the men responsible for shooting this man of God.
Raksin’s family left Miami headed for Key West to begin the America’s Torah Tour. They plan to spend the next year traveling through cities across the entire country.
They will be keeping track of the trip through a website where they will be sharing stories along the way. For more information go to www.americastorah.org.