MAS­SACRE BRINGS BACK TRAU­MATIC MEM­O­RIES FOR TORONTO FAM­ILY

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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,

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.

“I THOUGHT I WAS GO­ING TO HAVE A HEART AT­TACK.” ARTHUR ROSENBLUM

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THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

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.

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