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Family Says Rabbi’s Death Was a Hate Crime

The rabbi's body was flown to New York Sunday afternoon following the prayer service. He will be laid to rest Monday in Brooklyn.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Many came from different cities across South Florida to pray and mourn the loss of rabbi Joseph Raksin at a prayer service Sunday. NBC 6's Laura Rodriguez reports. (Published Sunday, Aug 10, 2014)

    There was overwhelming support for rabbi Joseph Raksin and his family at a prayer service Sunday. Many came from different cities across South Florida to pray and mourn the loss of a man of great faith.

    Gathered in a moment of prayer, dozens of Orthodox rabbis and community members read psalms outside the hearse carrying Raskin's body.

    "My father in law was a great man," said Raksin's son-in-law Issy. "He pushes us always to be better, to love our fellows."

    After prayer, hundreds followed the vehicle out of the driveway to symbolize that all are accompanying him on his final path. Family and friends still can't believe their loved one was shot and killed while walking to his place of worship.

    "Anti-semitism is alive and well on the streets of North Miami," said Menachem Katz, Raksin's nephew.

    Police say after an altercation, 2 young men shot the 60-year-old rabbi who was visiting family from New York. Although police say they don't see signs of a hate crime, family members disagree.

    "It was a hate crime because there was no altercation," said Katz. "There was no robbery. He had no money. He wasn't fighter. He was a very quiet person... If a Jew can be shot in broad daylight, we have a problem."

    One leader trying to help the Orthodox Jewish community in a time of outrage and dispair is North Miami Beach Mayor George Vallejo.

    "Although our city limits and the county limits kinda get a little bit mixed up in this area, this is one community and we are here in times of need to stand with that community," Vallejo said.

    City leaders plan to address this incident at an upcoming city hall meeting.

    The rabbi's body was flown to New York Sunday afternoon following the prayer service. He will be laid to rest Monday in Brooklyn.