Slain Detroit Synagogue Leader Mourned at Sunday Funeral; Police Seek Motive

By Reuters
October 23, 2023US News
Slain Detroit Synagogue Leader Mourned at Sunday Funeral; Police Seek Motive
Samantha Woll, president of the board at the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue poses for a photo in Detroit on Oct. 13, 2022. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP)

A funeral was held on Sunday for the president of a Detroit synagogue who was killed over the weekend as police searched for a motive.

Samantha Woll, an adviser to Democratic politicians and president of Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, was found stabbed to death outside her home in the Lafayette Park neighborhood of Detroit on Saturday.

On Sunday afternoon, Detroit Police Chief James E. White said in a statement that “no evidence has surfaced suggesting that this crime was motivated by antisemitism.” Police were investigating with the FBI, but the statement did not say whether a suspect had been identified.

In an obituary published on the website of the Hebrew Memorial Chapel, where the funeral was held, Ms. Woll, 40, was remembered as a patron of theater, opera, and music and a keen hiker of mountain trails.

The Detroit Police Department said Ms. Woll’s body was found in the 1300 block of Joliet Place, where a trail of blood led to her home.

Ms. Woll’s death sparked an outpouring of grief in Jewish and Democratic circles.

U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin, on whose election campaign Ms. Woll worked, said in a statement she “dedicated her short life to building understanding across faiths, bringing light in the face of darkness.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel remembered Ms. Woll as being driven by “her sincere love of her community, state and country.”

“Sam was as kind a person as I’ve ever known,” Ms. Nessel wrote on X, formerly called Twitter.

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