Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Danish Jews Lose a Gentle Giant

Binyamin Rose

When Rabbi Yitzchok Loewenthal arrived at Copenhagen’s Great Synagogue on Motzaei Shabbos to give a mazel tov at the Bentow family bas mitzvah, he felt safe seeing Daniel Uzan in his customary position, manning the security gate. Despite his personal sense of wellbeing, Rabbi Loewenthal tells Mishpacha he had a premonition about Uzan. “I said to Dan, ‘Why are you standing outside? The police are there.’ He told me he wanted to see the passersby and check out the passing cars.”

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Shortly after Rabbi Loewenthal left, the simchah turned to tzaar when 22-year-old Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein committed his second terrorist atrocity that day, shooting and killing Uzan, before Danish police eliminated El-Hussein a few hours later. “We called Dan the gentle giant,” Rabbi Loewenthal says about Uzan, who is survived by his sister and parents. “He was very reliable and solid and always had a friendly word, even after standing out in the cold for many hours.” Uzan was standing guard on a day when security at the Great Synagogue was ramped up, following a murderous attack in the late afternoon at a cultural center hosting a conference sponsored by a Swedish caricaturist who was facing death threats for his depictions of Islam’s prophet. Fearing a repeat performance of last month in Paris, where terrorists first targeted the anti-Islamist Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine before training their sights on a kosher market, Copenhagen police prepared for the targeting of the Jewish community, stationing two machine-gun toting policemen outside the shul. “I’ve never seen a scene like that in Copenhagen before,” Rabbi Loewenthal says. Despite the beefed-up police presence, the 37-year-old Uzan, who performed his security duties on a volunteer basis, refused to slack off. “Dan wanted to be proactive,” Rabbi Loewenthal says. “I understand — because it’s true — if our security guys go away, it’s highly likely the police will, too. So Dan made the right decision to save other people’s lives, but he paid for it with his own.”  


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Using Our Free Will Effectively
Yonoson Rosenblum The image we carry of ourselves is key
Living the High Life
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger It is exhilarating to matter, to be truly alive
It’s Time for Us to Speak Up
Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie We must speak out proudly for the values of Yiddishkeit
Kiruv Is Not Dead
Rabbi Meir Goldberg Do these sound like uninspired or closed students?
Frosting on the Cake
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman “Let’s not let a missing chocolate cake ruin our siyum!”
A Warm Corner in Flatbush
Yosef Zoimen It was a simple shul with a choshuve leader
Out of Control
Jacob L. Freedman “That’s illegal, Dr. Fine. I can’t have a part in this”
Song of Reckoning in the Skulener Court
Riki Goldstein “It’s awe-inspiring to watch the Rebbe sing this song”
“U’teshuvah, U’tefillah, U’tzedakah”
Riki Goldstein Throughout the Yamim Noraim, three words accompany us
The Rebbe Held His Gaze
Riki Goldstein A moment etched in Reb Dovid Werdyger’s memory forever
The Road Taken
Faigy Peritzman In the end it’s clear who really merits true happiness
Sincere Apology
Sarah Chana Radcliffe A heartfelt and complete apology can turn things around
Power Pack of Mercy
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz The 13 Attributes of Mercy are “an infinite treasure”
The Appraiser: Part II
D. Himy M.S. CCC-SLP, and Zivia Reischer “Eli needs to see people who struggled to achieve”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals