Detroit Synagogue President Fatally Stabbed

( – In what is suspected by some to be a bias-related crime, the president of a Detroit, Michigan, synagogue was murdered last weekend outside of her residence.

According to a report by the Detroit Free Press, 40-year-old Samantha Woll “was found stabbed” to death outside her home last Saturday in the Lafayette Park neighborhood of downtown Detroit. She was the board president of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, the last operating synagogue in Detroit.

Aside from her leadership role in her local Jewish community, Woll was also a well-known activist for the Democratic Party and used to work for Rep. Elissa Stotkin as well as Attorney General Dana Nessel on Nessel’s re-election campaign. In a statement released after the news broke, Nessel said she was “shocked, saddened, and horrified” by the “brutal murder” and described Woll as “kind” and “driven” by “sincere love of her community, state, and country.”

Woll was also the co-founder of an interfaith dialogue organization called the Muslim-Jewish Forum of Greater Detroit, which posted a message after her death, describing Woll as “a sweet, cheerful, thoughtful soul.”

After the militant Palestinian group Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, killing many Israelis and internationals and taking hostages back into the Gaza Strip, Israel launched a siege on the Palestinian territory in return. Since the surge in violence, the conflict has sparked protests around the world, divisions within both major US political parties, and violence between those on opposing sides of the issue.

Just a few days before Woll’s murder, a 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy and his mother were attacked in their home by their landlord in Illinois. The mother survived, but the boy was stabbed to death. President Joe Biden gave an address from the Oval Office condemning both antisemitism and Islamophobia, stating that both have “intensified in the wake of recent events.”

Although antisemitism is the suspected motive behind Woll’s murder, it is still unclear, and law enforcement continues their investigation.

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