A sea of black hats filled Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn on Monday as hundreds of people mourned a local rabbi murdered while heading to temple in Miami over the weekend.
Grieving friends and family hovered around 60-year-old Joseph Raksin’s black casket to say goodbye to the beloved father of six.
“He was a kind man, an honest man,” said Rabbi Shea Hecht, who grew up with Raksin. “If you look at the way he was taken away and the way he lived his life, it makes no sense.
“It cannot be understood.”
The traditional Orthodox funeral procession began around 10 a.m. at the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic headquarters, where mourners read Psalms and prayed for Raksin. It ended at the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, where the rabbi’s body was laid to rest by his bewildered wife and children, who are struggling to understand why this tragedy happened.
The Crown Heights Orthodox community believes Raksin’s murder was a hate crime.
“The community is in total shock,” said Rabbi Yehuda Kaploun, who traveled from North Miami Beach to attend Raksin’s funeral. “It puts fear in Jewish communities around the world.”
Kaploun remembered Raksin as a “proud grandfather,” adding that he was in Miami on vacation to visit his daughter and her children.
Miami-Dade police said Monday authorities are still searching for the two young men responsible for Raksin’s death. The police do not think Raksin was targeted for being Jewish. They believe it was a robbery gone wrong.
But Raksin’s son-in-law, Lieb Ezagui, told The Post on Sunday that witnesses told him Raksin was never even robbed, adding that Jews do not carry anything with them during the Sabbath.
“He was targeted because he was Jewish,” Ezagui said. “They walked up and shot him and just walked away cold.”