Since the shooting death of Eliyahu Moscowitz in the Rogers Park area of Chicago earlier this week, a dark cloud has hovered over the Jewish community in the nearby West Rogers Park neighborhood.
“There is a feeling of shock at this tragic murder,” Shalom Klein, a leader in Chicago’s Jewish community who is representing the family, told JNS. “Everyone is still digesting the news. The police are doing a good job of communicating with everyone, and the family is encouraging everyone to remain vigilant and alert.”
The 24-year-old was killed by a masked man and possible serial killer, who may also be responsible for the shooting death of 73-year-old Douglas Watts, a gay man from Rogers Park. Ballistics tests suggest that both men were shot with the same gun, according to police.
Moscowitz’s cousin, Rabbi Meir Shimon Moscowitz, is the head of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois.
The Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, the area’s Jewish federation, said it is monitoring the investigation by the Chicago Police Department.
“[There’s] not a lot that is concrete in this moment,” Joel Schatz, JUF director of news and information, told JNS, along with expressing his condolences to Moscowitz’s family and community.
A total of $10,000 in reward money is being offered by the JUF/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago to aid in the search for the killer or killers, announced on Thursday evening at a community-safety meeting convened by 50th Ward Alderman Debra Silverstein, CAPS and the 24th District Community Policing Office, and held at the Bernard Horwich Jewish Community Center in Chicago.
People who knew the young man expressed their condolences.
Aliza Yudkowsky would see him at the local grocer Jewel-Osco, where Moscowitz worked as a kosher supervisor and where she was employed for a while as well. She wrote a Facebook post memorializing him, a copy of which she provided to JNS.
“I considered you a friend … you would always ask me how my day was going,” said Yudkowsky. “You cheered me up when I looked at you with pleading eyes, ready to pull my hair out, and responded with ‘I cannot handle one more crazy customer!’ You smiled and asked when my shift was over, and then with a great big grin you told me, ‘Cheer up! You’ve gotten this far, and your day is almost over!’
“I’m staring at the headlines again. It’s unfair. It really is,” she added. “How could something so senseless and so cruel happen to one of the kindest people I know? I cannot believe the lies the headlines are telling me. I cannot believe that someone so good, so accepting, and so kind is just … gone. Gone in a flash of senseless violence.”
Ephriam Isaacson knew Moscowitz from the grocery store. “I always saw him at the Jewel-Osco kosher deli; he was always super helpful,” Isaacson told JNS. “He was always helping someone and did it with a smile.”
Law enforcement released a photo of a man believed to be the suspect dressed entirely in black, his face covered by a ski mask to conceal his identity.
A Chesed Fund campaign has been set up to support Moscowitz’s family. All funds are being handled through Congregation B’nei Ruven, located in Moscowitz’s neighborhood.