Murdered Israeli remembered in Baltimore

Efraim Gordon (Courtesy of Rabbi Dovid Reyder)

By Haydee M. Rodriguez

More than 400 people attended a memorial on Wednesday for Efraim Gordon, a 31-year-old Israeli who was murdered last month while visiting Baltimore.

The memorial, held at Suburban Orthodox Congregation Toras Chaim, took place at the end of the traditional 30-day mourning period, called shloshim.

Rabbi Elchonon Lisbon of Beis Lubavitch Baltimore Lisbon spoke of meeting Gordon.

“Efraim so much enjoyed his family and new friends,” Lisbon said. “There are memories of joy. May this bring comfort to his family.”

Rabbi Dovid Reyder gave an emotional speech, in which he said that Gordon “only saw the positive in everyone.”

“He will always be our teacher and an example of what it means to be kind and understanding,” Reyder said.

The Shloshim Memorial was also a chance for members of the community to learn more about safety and security. Representatives from volunteer organizations were tabling there to share information.

Michael Diamond represented Shomrim, a volunteer community watch group.

“The community is very upset about this senseless murder,” Diamond said. “It hit home. Since that incident, there is fear and unrest in the community. It’s been 30 days. Tonight it’s meaningful because it’s part of the healing process.”

After the memorial via phone, Reyder said that the presence of so many people, and of the leading rabbis in the community, brought a lot of comfort to the family.

A Torah scroll is being written to honor Gordon, Reyder said. It will be written in Israel, then brought back to Baltimore for the yahrzeit of Gordon’s death.

Sara Marshall, Gordon’s cousin and Reyder’s sister, noted that the memorial brought the Baltimore Jewish community together.

“They came together to support our family, and to remember Efraim,” she said. “This is exactly who Efraim was, a man loved by all, secular and religious. He had a way of making everyone feel valued.

“Efraim had a heart of gold,” she continued. “He was generous and humble. He was such a special person. This tragedy and the pain will take a long time to heal. Knowing we’re not alone makes a big difference. His legacy will carry on through those that emulate him.”

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