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Victims Of Jersey City Shootings Remembered

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here are the names of two victims in Tuesday's shooting in Jersey City. Leah Mindel Ferencz was a mother of three. Moshe Deutsch was an educator and active volunteer. Both were Satmar Hasidim. The rules of their Orthodox Jewish faith call for swift burial after death, and their funerals were held last night in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, just across the Hudson River from Jersey City. Reporter Fred Mogul of member station WNYC was there.

FRED MOGUL, BYLINE: Many in the Hasidic community knew the two victims and their families, and many didn't, but all packed into a three-block stretch of Williamsburg to reflect and grieve.

MOSHE BLUMENBERG: Before, we felt more secured.

MOGUL: Moshe Blumenberg is a teacher from Union City, N.J.

BLUMENBERG: We have police. We have everything. Now we see the only one who could watch us is, really, God, and it's very terrifying.

MOGUL: Blumenberg described the deaths as a wound to the entire Jewish world and as a nightmare everyone wanted to wake up from. Police are still investigating the two suspects, who have ties to a group that regularly denounces Jews. Joel Wald (ph) was one of several people in the gathering who said rising anti-Semitism makes them worry for their safety.

JOEL WALD: My wife was on subway, and she texted me that she's afraid every guy, every other person could be a murderer.

MOGUL: Wald said that feeling was likely to subside, but right now, the anxieties are strong. At the same time, people said they had their faith and their loved ones to turn to for strength and, Hershy Deutsch said, to a history of surviving adversity.

HERSHY DEUTSCH: We accept anything. We accepted Holocaust; we can accept this.

MOGUL: Deutsch is a cousin of Moshe Deutsch, the young man who was shopping in the kosher grocery store in Jersey City when he was shot multiple times. Deutsch said his cousin was following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both known for their charitable generosity.

DEUTSCH: He was a special person. He was a person that had a good word to everybody, smiled, did good things and just was a nice guy.

MOGUL: To Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum, one of the leaders of the Satmar sect of Hasidim, the young man and woman who were killed are martyrs and part of God's plan to make people lead better lives. Crying as he spoke into the PA system, Teitelbaum called on the black-garbed crowd to pray more, study more and treat each other more compassionately.

JACOB KELLNER: We should behave with kindness, one to another.

MOGUL: Rabbi Jacob Kellner helped to translate Teitelbaum's sermon from Yiddish.

KELLNER: If we would behave that way, then God would protect us from all such kind of acts.

MOGUL: Teitelbaum called for peace between Jews and non-Jews, and others in the crowd noted that non-Jews were shooting victims, too - store clerk Douglas Miguel Rodriguez and Jersey City Detective Joseph Seals. Details on their funerals have not yet been announced.

For NPR News, I'm Fred Mogul in New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.