The two Jewish victims of yesterday’s protracted shootout in Jersey City, N.J. will be buried tomorrow, according to a Hasidic community leader.
“They understand the urgency of needing to bury them in a Jewish cemetery as soon as possible,” said Hasidic community leader Yankev Meir during an interview on the Yiddish-language radio/podcast app, Yiddish24 today.
Leah Mindel Ferencz, 33, worked in the JC Kosher Supermarket and was the wife of owner Moishe Ferencz. She and her husband have three children, according to Chabad.
She was a “pioneer” in Jersey City, said Rabbi David Niederman, Executive Director of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg during a press conference Wednesday.
“She and her husband were from the first people who moved to Jersey City, who could not afford a home for their growing family and figured, let’s go to place where it’s cheaper, and I’ll make an example, I’ll go there, I’ll open a grocery store so families can go and shop locally,” he said, “therefore growing the community — alleviating the pain of so many families who live under unbearable conditions.”
Rabbi Yitzchok Leifer and his wife, Bracha Leifer, lead a synagogue around the corner from the kosher grocery store where the shooting happened. Leah Mindel Ferencz was an “askente,” said Bracha— a Yiddish word used to describe a leader or beloved figure in the community.
When the Leifers’ daughter was getting married, Leah Mindel came early to the sheva brachot ceremony to bring food and set up.
“She’d do anything to help a fellow Jew,” said Yitzchok. “I can’t imagine what the town will do without her.”
The other victim is Moshe Deutsch, 24, the son of a leader in the Satmar community in Brooklyn, according to Hasidic news sources. Other outlets report he was the cousin of Mrs. Ferencz.
Deutsch was a devoted scholar and was involved in the organization of a major food drive that benefits 2,000 families, according to Niederman. He also participated in a two-day bike ride to benefit a charity serving children with cancer.
The charity, Chai Lifeline, described Deutsch as a “devoted” volunteer.
A third victim is being named as Miguel Douglas by the authorities, but his family’s social media posts indicate his name is Douglas Rodriguez. He was 49 and an employee at the store who was not a member of the Jewish community, according to Niederman. He came to the United States from Ecuador and has an 11-year-old daughter, according to elected officials. A relative on Twitter called him “un modelo a seguir,” a role model.
Niederman became emotional as he spoke about “a few hundred bullets” that killed Deutsch.
“How can we, as a community, as a people, hear that?” he said.
There are about 20 individuals, mainly volunteers, called misaskim that are at the scene of the crime, preserving the bodies as mandated by Jewish law. They typically visit crime scenes where Orthodox Jews are among the deceased to collect all of the organic matter to make sure everything is buried.
The bodies have been taken to the medical examiner‘s office in Newark.
A police officer also died on Tuesday; Det. Joseph Seals was a father of five lauded as “our leading police officer in removing guns from the street.” He was killed at a cemetery after encountering the alleged perpetrators, David Anderson and Francine Graham, and trying to question them about the U-Haul they were driving. That vehicle had also been linked to the Bayonne, N.J. murder of an Uber driver. Anderson and Graham drove to the nearby JC Kosher Supermarket in that U-Haul, which had a pipe bomb and firearms inside. Anderson and Graham died inside the market.
Aiden Pink contributed reporting.
Molly Boigon is the investigative reporter at the Forward. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @MollyBoigon
Ari Feldman is a staff writer at the Forward. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @aefeldman