MASSACRE BRINGS BACK TRAUMATIC MEMORIES FOR TORONTO FAMILY
He was a rabbinical student, a husband, father to a monthold baby girl. Shot and killed because he was a Jew.
Outside a Torah study centre. In Pittsburgh’s leafy Squirrel Hill neighbourhood.
That was more than three decades ago, April 17, 1986.
Neal Rosenblum, from Toronto, had been in the city for only seven hours, visiting his in-laws for Passover. He looked like what he was — an Orthodox Jew, with the hat and the cloth belt, the long dark coat and the beard.
Easy to spot on that overcast day — he’d turned down an offer of a ride to walk home — when two men in a car beckoned him over, pretending to ask for directions.
Rosenblum, 24, was struck by five bullets — in the abdomen, chest, arms and leg.
Sixteen years and three mistrials later, Stephen Tielsch, a drug dealer with a swastika tattoo, was convicted of third-degree murder.
“I’d … like to remind the community the theory upon which we proceeded in this case was that the motive in this case was hate,” District
Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. said after the trial.
On Thursday, Arthur Rosenblum clicked on a YouTube re-enactment of the crime that took his son’s life. “I just saw the video for the first time,” he told the Star. “I thought I was going to have a heart attack.”
Not a day has gone by that it doesn’t hurt. But the pain was most profound, stirring up every traumatic memory,
“I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO HAVE A HEART ATTACK.” ARTHUR ROSENBLUM
following Saturday’s mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, same Squirrel Hill district –— 11 Jews at prayer on the Sabbath slain by a gunman who shouted: “All Jews must die!”
The alleged gunman, Robert Bowers, had just posted an ominous statement on the fringe social media website Gab, favoured by the alt-right: “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered … Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
In his profile, within a sludge pit of bigotry and anti-Semitism, Bowers wrote: “Jews are the children of Satan.”
Throughout history, it has always been thus for Jews, persecuted and banished, subjected to pogroms and purges.
Neal Rosenblum, with wife Manya, was gunned down in 1986 in the same neighbourhood where last Saturday’s massacre occurred.
Steven Tielsch was convicted of third-degree murder for the killing of Rosenblum.