Four Victims of Synagogue Terror Attack Laid to Rest in Jerusalem

Moshe Twersky, Aryeh Kupinsky, Avraham Shmuel Goldberg and Kalman Zeev laid to rest at Givat Shaul Cemetary in the capital.

Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger
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The funeral of Moshe Twersky in Jerusalem, November 18, 2014.
The funeral of Moshe Twersky in Jerusalem, November 18, 2014.Credit: Emil Salman
Yair Ettinger
Yair Ettinger

Four of the five victims of Wednesday’s terrorist attack at a Jerusalem synagogue were laid to rest in the capital in the evening. Eight people were wounded in the attack, one of whom later died.

The four men, who were butchered by knives and axes while at prayer, left four widows and 25 children.

The funeral of U.S.-born Moshe Twersky, 59, scion of one of the best-known Orthodox families and head of the English-speaking Yeshiva Toras Moshe in Jerusalem, began at 2:00 P.M. at Beit HaTalmud yeshiva in the Sanhedria neighborhood and end at the Givat Shaul Cemetery.

The funeral procession of the three other victims - U.S.-born Aryeh Kupinsky, 43, U.K.-born Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 68 and U.S.-born Kalman Zeev Levine, 55 – began at the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue and made its way to the Givat Shaul Cemetery.

All four men lived on Shimon Agassi Street, a long, quiet street in Har Nof named after one of the great Baghdad rabbis. The synagogue in which they were murdered, Kehilat Bnei Torah, is also situated on Agassi Street. Many of those who attend the synagogue are originally from Anglo-Saxon countries.

Britain’s ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould attended the funerals.

Rabbi Yitzhak Rubin from the Bnei Torah congregation, eulogized the four. Speaking about the brutality of the murders, Rubin said that “the world’s nations do not understand that there are no human beings here, there are animals.”

Aryeh Kupinsky lost his daughter two years ago when she died in her sleep at the age of nine.

Avraham Shmuel Goldberg emigrated from Britain in 1993. He left behind a wife and six children. According to the JewishNews website, Goldberg worked in publishing and lived in London’s Golders Green before making aliyah in 1993.

“We are aware of the death of a dual British-Israeli national in Israel on 18 November 2014,” Britain’s Foreign Office said in a statement.

David Osborne, Goldberg’s friend, told the website: “He was the most wonderful person you could meet, a pillar of the community.” Osborne, who said he was on his way to the synagogue, said that “Avraham prayed there most days for the last 10 years or so, he was a devout Jew with no political agenda. All he wanted was to live a peaceful life.”

“The Goldberg family accepts the divine decree with love,” the family stated, saying they will not be giving interviews to the press.

Kalman Zeev Levine regularly prayed at the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue, which was near his home.

Twersky, who left behind a wife, Miriam, and five children, was a scion of two of the most celebrated families in the Orthodox community in the United States.

On his mother’s side he was the grandson of Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, probably the most prominent religious Jewish philosopher of the later part of the 20th Century outside Israel and, to many, the spiritual father of “Modern Orthodoxy.”

He was also a descendant of the Chernobyl hasidic dynasty. His father had the unique distinction of being both Professor Isadore Twersky of Harvard University and Rabbi Yitzchok, the Tolner-Boston Rebbe.

Soloveitchik and his son-in-law were pioneers of a Jewish religious stream that believed it could combine Talmudic learning with modern academia and adapt an Orthodox, mitzvah-observant lifestyle to post-war America, without the necessity of rebuilding a spiritual ghetto as the Haredi communities did.

Soloveitchik’s copious writing explored the dilemmas of a man of faith living in modern society. For many young yeshiva students are still today, 21 years after his death, these writings are fundamental guides to interpreting an often muddling world and for navigating between their study hall and outside lives.

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