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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 2, 2004 / 18 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764

The senseless murder of a ‘hero’ and ‘saint’

By Binyamin L. Jolkovsky


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A cross-dresser bludgeoned, stabbed, and strangled my friend


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Rahamim "Raymond" Sultan, who spent much of his life at Midwood, Brooklyn, was 75. He'd been living alone for several months since his wife, Atara, died. Childless, he was lonely. He was having a hard time making ends meet, and an even harder time with the man whom, in part to offset his loneliness, he'd allowed to become his boarder. I know, because he told me. He used to sit across from me in our small Chasidic shul.


When folks in synagogues in this corner of Brooklyn began buzzing Wednesday that a senior citizen was murdered in a grisly attack, few knew the details.


In hushed tones, between amens, people chalked up the violent death to an unfortunate side of life in the big city. These things happen.


A few hours later, the tabloids hit the streets blaring headlines like the New York Post's "KINKY WACKO KILLED ROOMIE." Of the few who allow such papers into their homes, most didn't put the two together. After all, to people here, "kinky wacko" and "Orthodox" mix like meat and milk.


I can't say Rahamim and I were close. I didn't even know his last name. But we chatted over plates of herring, glasses of seltzer, and challa rolls at the end-of-Sabbath communal meal. When I pressed Rahamim -- the name means "merciful" -- for details about his troubles and offered to help, he'd flail his frail arms. "It's being worked on," he'd say, week after week.


Nobody would have blamed Rahamim for being bitter. He landed on American shores from Syria as a child and spent much of his youth in and out of foster homes. He told fellow congregants he had no family. He did, however, have an infectious smile, and he always had a good word for those he met. Other people, he'd say, had "real" troubles.

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Rahamim would take his meals at Young Israel Senior Services. It was an employee there who noticed that he hadn't shown up in a few days. When the cops went to check up on Rahamim, a bearded man wearing blue eye shadow, pink fingernail polish, pink pumps, and a low-cut shirt opened the door. Though at first Howard Goldstein, 47, denied knowing where Rahamim was, a putrid smell soon led the cops to his decaying corpse. It had been bludgeoned, stabbed, and strangled. Mr. Goldstein was arrested.


In my synagogue on the Sabbath, a flyer announced that Rahamim's brother, who nobody knew existed, was sitting shiva, and it gave the address. It also announced a Sunday memorial service. In polite language, it mentioned that donations could be made to Chesed Shel Emes, a society that guarantees Jewish burials for the indigent.


At the service, held at Congregation Bnei Yosef on Ocean Parkway, in a room with stunning Judaica frescos, about 40 of his friends and community members gathered. A number of participants told me they didn't actually know the deceased but came to show support for the family. Of Rahamim's family there was only an estranged nephew.


How did a Syrian Jew, who had different customs and enunciations of Hebrew and who did demographic research about Brooklyn's Sephardic community, end up frequenting a Chasidic synagogue? It was a question Rahamim was regularly asked. His answer: He enjoyed simplicity and song. While Syrian synagogues are like a king's palace, he preferred chipped benches and chairs.


Last year on Shabbes Chanukah after evening services, Rahamim and I stood schmoozing as our co-congregants made their way home.


"Let me tell you a story," he began. "You may not know this, but I wasn't always religious. I used to be a truck driver. One dark winter night I was hauling freight through fly-over country. The highway was empty. In the distance I saw a small light that became larger as I moved closer to it. Finally, when I was nearby I recognized it to be a menorah standing a window. It sent shivers through my body."


Rahamim paused and I thought he was going to cry.


"What struck me," he continued, "was the fighting spirit we Jews have. In the middle of nowhere a Jew was proclaiming to the world, OI am Jewish and I am proud.' It was at that point I decided that if a Jew in some isolated place could do what he did, then I, from New York, should certainly act more Jewish."


Though he had the heart and soul of a poet in his later years, Rahamim earlier on was a member of the Jewish Defense League. An affiliated group, Voice of Judea, sent out a notice about Rahamim's memorial service via electronic mail, and at that service a participant read a letter from Mike Guzovsky, who leads a Kahane faction in Israel. It trashed those in America for allowing a "hero" and "saint" to be murdered.


I asked Rahamim once to recount some of his exploits, something a number of ex-JDLniks I know enjoy doing. He would only smile and adjust his hearing aid. After I repeated the question, he would politely demur. "The ways of the Torah," he would say, quoting Proverbs, "are pleasantness."


How ironic that a man who renounced violence ultimately ended up its victim.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Binyamin L. Jolkovsky is JewishWorldReview.com's Editor in Chief. A version of this column appears in today's New York Sun, where the author recently became a weekly columnist. Comment by clicking here.


© 2004, JWR