Rabbi Yosef Schanowitz runs a Chabad synagogue just two blocks from where the shooting happened on Monday, which targeted Highland Park, one of the most Jewish neighborhoods in Chicago, according to JTA and began in the middle of a klezmer band playing. A few weeks before the massacre, antisemitic flyers had been distributed throughout community, sources told Insider.
After the photo of the alleged suspect Robert E. Crimo III was released, the Rabbi realized it wasn’t the first time he had seen his face. He remembered that he had asked the same man to leave the synagogue just a few months prior.
“During the last Passover holiday, that person entered the Chabad synagogue. We have an armed security guard sitting in front… I approached him and sternly asked him to leave as I noticed he was not a member of our community,” Schanowitz was quoted as saying.
It sounds like his actions could have stopped an attack that would have happened then.
Since the shooting, Rabbi Schanowitz is trying to provide comfort to those affected. He has been in touch with the victim’s families and went to the emergency room following the tragedy to comfort the injured.
“I told them I was clergy and I wished them all the best,” Schanowitz said, noting that while “most of the people I saw were not of the Jewish faith, there were a few who were.”
“It just drives home that we’re living in an imperfect world,” he continues, “and we have work to do.”