'Shema Yisrael' to be Engraved on Koch's Gravestone
Former New York Mayor Ed Koch's memorial stone will include a Magen David (Jewish Star) and the first portion of the Shema Yisrael prayer. A report in Ha'aretz Sunday said that Koch had made the request in his will.
In addition, Koch's stone will feature the last words of Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl, who was murdered by radical Muslim Pakistani terrorists. Pearl's final words -- “My father was a Jew, my mother was a Jew, I am a Jew” -- will be inscribed on the stone as well. Koch passed away Friday, February 1, eleven years to the day of Pearl's murder.
Koch's funeral will take place Monday. Services will be held at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan, and “shiva” will be held at Gracie Mansion, home of New York's mayors. Koch served three terms as New York City mayor, from 1978 through 1989, helping to shepherd New York through financial crises, transit strikes, and a period of very high crime. Many commentators attribute the city's prosperity and growth over the past two decades to the “grunt work” Koch did in developing new institutions and methods of government.
Current New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, praised Koch, who passed away at age 88, as a "tireless, fearless and guileless civic leader" for his role in pulling New York back from the brink of financial collapse in the late 1970s."Ed helped lift the city out of its darkest days and set it on course for an incredible comeback," Bloomberg said, ordering flags to be lowered to half-mast.