BOSTON (CBS/AP) — One of the three Americans killed in an attack at a synagogue in Israel had strong ties to the Boston area.
Rabbi Mosheh Twersky was one of five victims of the attack Tuesday in which two Palestinian cousins armed with meat cleavers and a gun stormed a Jerusalem synagogue during morning prayers. Police killed the attackers in a shootout.
Security at synagogues in the Boston area was stepped up following the attack.
Rabbi Twersky was the son of Rabbi Isadore Twersky, a founding director of Harvard University’s Center for Jewish Studies. He died in 1997.
“Rabbi Moshe Twersky, who was murdered while at prayer in Jerusalem this morning, was the son of my late and revered colleague, Professor Isadore Twersky, founding director of Harvard’s Center for Jewish Studies,” said Director Eric Nelson of the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University. “I know that I speak for all of us in the CJS community when I say that we are heartbroken at the news of this unspeakable act of sacrilegious cruelty.”
Mosheh Twersky was a 1973 graduate of the Maimonides School in Brookline, which was founded by his grandfather, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik.
The school said in a statement that it is “engulfed in grief and outrage.”
The Maimonides School held a community-wide memorial service for Twersky Tuesday night.
“We are heartbroken, we are numb,” friend Naty Katz said at the service. “I will always remember Moshes for his modesty, his brilliance, his smile and his kindness.”
WBZ security analyst Ed Davis says the threat stretches to New England, and police are stepping up security, and awareness. “We have to be cognizant of what happened and also aware that somebody might try to do this again,” Davis said.
Watch: Ed Davis On Jerusalem Attack
Rabbi Twersky had lived in Jerusalem for about 30 years.
U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA-08) said in a statement that he was saddened by the loss of the rabbis who were “brutally murdered.”
“These young Rabbis were men of peace who dedicated their lives to the service of others and the dignity of life itself,” he said. “Our prayers also go out to the members of the Jewish community in Greater Boston who share a special connection with the Twersky family.”
The Massachusetts Council of Churches also released a statement, saying it was “saddened” by the loss of life in Jerusalem.
“The Massachusetts Council of Churches is saddened to see more violence in a city of peace,” the statement said.
“We are saddened to see innocent people killed again in Jerusalem. We join the Boston Jewish community in grieving the killings at a Jerusalem synagogue today. Our shared Abrahamic tradition states clearly ‘You shall not murder’ (Exodus 20:13). We pray especially for the Boston community remembering Rabbi Mosheh Twersky. May peace come to Jerusalem and all who mourn be comforted.”
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