Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Florida Rabbi Recalls Slain Teens From His Bar Mitzvah Class

Two of the students killed at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, are Jewish and were in one rabbi’s bar mitzvah tutoring classes less than two years ago.

Rabbi Jonathan Kaplan, of Temple Beth Chai, said that he tutored Jamie Gutenberg, 17, one of the victims named by a local ABC affiliate, had her bar in August 2016. She was in his class along with another student who Kaplan declined to name because the name has not been reported by authorities yet.

The ABC station reported that Jaime’s brother Jesse made it home safely from the shooting, which left 17 people dead. JTA has reported that one local rabbi, Bradd Boxman of Kol Tikvah, said he knew of four Jewish students killed.

Kaplan declined to comment, saying only that he is now heading to the Guttenberg household to make funeral arrangements. In Jewish tradition, bodies are laid to rest as soon as possible after death, and are required to be “guarded” by community members until the funeral.

Temple Beth Chai is a small community, and its offices are run out of Kaplan’s home. They have Shabbat services in a local middle school, and host their High Holiday services in Stoneman Douglas’ auditorium.

Contact Ari Feldman at [email protected] or on Twitter @aefeldman


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.