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DATE 2023-10-01

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Key: Value:

Key: Value:

MESSAGE
DATE 2023-10-22
FROM Ruben Safir
SUBJECT Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] We know not who or why....

forward.com
Samantha Woll, Detroit synagogue president, found stabbed to death
outside her home
BCohen
7–8 minutes

Samantha Woll, president of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue in
Detroit, welcomes attendees to the congregation’s centennial celebration
and groundbreaking on a major renovation project, Aug. 14, 2022. (Andrew
Lapin/Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

Samantha Woll, president of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue in
Detroit, welcomes attendees to the congregation’s centennial celebration
and groundbreaking on a major renovation project, Aug. 14, 2022. (Andrew
Lapin/Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

(JTA) — Samantha Woll, a Democratic activist and prominent Jewish lay
leader in Detroit, was stabbed to death outside her home.

Police found Woll, 40, at 6:30 am on Saturday in the city’s Lafayette
Park neighborhood, local media said. She had been stabbed multiple times
and was unresponsive. A trail of blood led to her home, which police
believe may be the scene of the crime, the Detroit Free Press reported.
No motive was known.

Woll’s murder comes at a time of high alert for U.S. Jews, following
Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel Oct. 7 and widespread protests against
Israel’s ensuing war in Gaza. A public call by a former Hamas leader for
global protests against Jews caused some Jewish institutions to close or
fortify themselves last week, including in the Detroit area, which is
home to one of the largest Palestinian communities in the United States.

Local authorities offered no indication of a connection between current
events and Woll’s murder, and Jewish leaders cautioned against jumping
to conclusions. “As we mourn her tragic passing, we urge the community
to refrain from speculation and allow law enforcement to gather facts,”
the Anti-Defamation League’s Michigan office said in a statement on X.

“There are no known threats to the community at this time,” the Jewish
Federation of Detroit said in an alert to the community. “No evidence
has been shared to indicate this was a targeted act motivated by
antisemitism.”

Still, some prominent public figures drew connections between Moll’s
murder and the current crisis. American Federation of Teachers President
Randi Weingarten, who is Jewish, linked Moll’s death to the reportedly
anti-Muslim murder last week of a 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy in
Chicago. Eric Ward, executive vice president of Race Forward, a racial
justice advocacy group, wrote on X, “We who are responsible for
irresponsible rhetoric and tone setting aren’t the ones burying our
dead. Please, please, please. Be serious in your leadership and know
your words can be the accessory to murder here and abroad.”

Woll was the president of the non-denominational Isaac Agree Downtown
Synagogue, one of the only Jewish congregations left in the city of
Detroit. Since last year, she has led an ambitious expansion of the
synagogue which aimed to make it a central part of the renewal of the
city’s Jewish community.

“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the unexpected death of
Samantha Woll, our Board President,” the synagogue said in an alert it
sent its congregants. “At this point we do not have more information,
but will share more when it becomes available.”

In 2017, the Detroit Jewish News listed Woll as one of its 36 Jews to
watch under the age of 36. In particular, it noted her role in
cofounding the Muslim-Jewish Forum of Detroit. “By extending her hand
and creating space for connection between Muslims and Jews, she has
exemplified the values of healing the world,” it said.

She was also politically active, having previously worked for U.S. Rep.
Elissa Slotkin, the Jewish Democrat now running for Senate, and last
year on the reelection campaign of Dana Nessel, Michigan’s Jewish
attorney general.

Nessel, Slotkin and other Michigan political figures paid tribute to
Woll on social media. Slotkin, writing on X, formerly known as Twitter,
recalled a woman as dedicated to her politics as she was to her faith.
Woll was Slotkin’s deputy district director from 2019 to 2021.

“Separately, in politics & in the Jewish community, she dedicated her
short life to building understanding across faiths, bringing light in
the face of darkness,” she said.

Noah Arbit, a state legislator who was her friend, wrote on Facebook
that Woll “believed in the city and the people of Detroit, and her deep
commitment to Judaism and the Jewish people reflected in all of her
work.”

Andy Levin, the former Democratic congressman, met Woll in 2016 when he
helped found Detroit Jews for Justice. The group launched that fall with
a retreat at a campground in western Michigan. There was an exercise
where participants paired off for “one on ones”, where they exchanged
insights. Levin was paired with Woll.

“She was so full of idealism, and passion for justice, and so after
that, we always stayed close,” he said. “I can’t process losing Sam Woll
at the age of 40. That’s not what’s supposed to happen. I can’t believe
I won’t see her. I cannot believe I won’t see her when I go to a Detroit
Jews for Justice event or go to the Downtown Synagogue or go to the
Eastern Market.”

Throughout her adult life, Woll was active in the Jewish community,
including at the University of Michigan’s Hillel and as a co-chairwoman
of the American Jewish Committee’s ACCESS Detroit Young Leadership
Program. She was also on the board of the Jewish Historical Society of
Michigan.

Halie Soifer, the CEO of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, and a
Michigander, had been aware of Woll as a rising star, and saw Woll’s
skills as a leader on a JDCA lobbying day in June. The Michigan JDCA
faction chose Woll to help lead discussions with the state’s lawmakers
on abortion access, threats to democracy, antisemitism and Israel.

“She was chosen to speak and lead a portion of the meeting because she
was such a gifted leader and advocate and she spoke with passion and
deep commitment to these issues, she tied in personal stories” Soifer
recalled in an interview. “This is devastating.”

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan recalled dedicating the rebuilt Downtown
Synagogue, a $6 million project, with Woll in August.

“Just weeks ago, I shared a day of joy with Sam at the dedication of the
newly renovated Downtown Synagogue,” he said in a statement. “It was a
project she successfully led with great pride and enthusiasm.”

The synagogue, founded in 1921, was one of only two free standing Jewish
place of worship remaining in the city, along with a Chabad center. Woll
sought to make the synagogue a locus of a Jewish revival as the children
and grandchildren of Jews who decades ago moved to the suburbs are
returning as the city undergoes a renewal.

At the groundbreaking a year earlier, Woll likened the synagogue’s
renewal to ancient works of the Jewish people.

“In the coming together to build and renovate a physical space, this has
also been a very spiritual act, in a way similar to building the Temple
in Biblical times,” she said.

Woll is survived by her parents, Margo and Douglas Woll, and her sister,
Monica.

--
So many immigrant groups have swept through our town
that Brooklyn, like Atlantis, reaches mythological
proportions in the mind of the world - RI Safir 1998
http://www.mrbrklyn.com

DRM is THEFT - We are the STAKEHOLDERS - RI Safir 2002
http://www.nylxs.com - Leadership Development in Free Software
http://www2.mrbrklyn.com/resources - Unpublished Archive
http://www.coinhangout.com - coins!
http://www.brooklyn-living.com

Being so tracked is for FARM ANIMALS and extermination camps,
but incompatible with living as a free human being. -RI Safir 2013

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