Jewish community frightened, upset after man shot outside synagogue

Shooting takes place 5 years after rabbi shot to death

By Madeleine Wright - Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - People in the Jewish community are frightened and upset after a man was shot in the leg outside a synagogue near North Miami Beach.

Miami-Dade police are searching for the shooter who wounded the man Sunday evening outside the Young Israel of Greater Miami on Northeast 171st Street near Northeast 10th Avenue.

"The investigation has to run its course, but anytime that someone is shot sitting outside a synagogue, it's going to create fear in the Jewish community," worshiper Yehuda Kaploun told Local 10 News.

Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said a black Chevrolet Impala circled the synagogue several times.

"On the second time, by that time, the victim was approaching the door and that's when the driver of the Impala exits the vehicle and opens fire toward the victim, striking him multiple times in the lower extremities," Zabaleta said.

The 68-year-old victim was taken to Aventura Hospital, where he underwent surgery.

Koby Litowich, a synagogue board member, identified the victim as Yosef Lipshutz, and said he's a sweet, modest man.

"He helps out on a regular basis," Litowich said. "He volunteers. He helps the rabbi. He's an important member of our congregation." 

Litowich said the victim was waiting outside the front door for evening services so he could open the front door for the rabbi, who just had hip surgery.

But before the rabbi could arrive, someone shot Lipshutz in the leg.

Litowich said the victim ducked under a bench for cover. 

Police are investigating the shooting as a possible hate crime.

"This takes place roughly around five years to the day that Rabbi (Joseph) Raksin was killed in our community and his murderers were never brought to justice," Kaploun said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

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