US/World News

Orthodox Jew shot dead in Chicago on Simchat Torah

By Yvette Alt Miller (JTA) – Eliyahu Moscowitz, a kosher supervisor at a supermarket, was shot dead in Chicago on Simchat Torah in what local residents fear might be a killing spree. Moscowitz, 24, was shot once in the head and left for dead on a rainy Monday night in the East Rogers Park neighborhood, about a mile from where he grew up. Police say robbery does not appear to have been a motive. His killing followed the murder 36 hours earlier of Douglass Watts, 73, who also was shot once in the head in the same lakefront park a little before 10 a.m. Sunday. Chicago Police have determined tat the same gun was used in both killings. They released an image of Watts’ killer dressed all in black with a black ski mask obscuring his face. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the two victims had no connection and likely were chosen at random. Johnson also said it was too early to determine if the shootings were hate crimes.

Moscowitz’s body was found shortly after his murder by Pastor John Elleson of Lakewood Chapel. “He is laying there with the rain coming down,” Elleson said, “and if it was my son or my relative, I would just want someone to stand with them during this time.”  Rabbi Zelig Moscowitz remembered his first cousin. “He was a wonderful, very kind, gentle, caring person,” Zelig Moscowitz said. “He was someone who uplifts others.”

After attending high school in Chicago, Eliyahu Moscowitz spent a year studying at the Mayanot Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem before returning home to work as a mashgiach, or kosher supervisor, at the Jewel supermarket in suburban Evanston, where he was a cheerful presence in the kosher section.

After his murder, a local Facebook page contained tributes from some of the many customers that Moscowitz helped over the years. “Always a kind word and smile,” “Nicest person” and “Such a nice guy” were typical descriptions.

Moscowitz also was a fan of the game Pokemon GO and often played in parks in Chicago and the suburbs. He was friends with a large group of fellow games enthusiasts. On Tuesday, local players held a candlelit vigil on Loyola Beach, near where he was murdered; over 100 players turned out to honor their friend.

Omar Arango, who often played with Moscowitz, called him a “big, kindhearted gentleman.”

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