Jewish Journal

Ed Koch cites Daniel Pearl on his headstone

by Adam Wills

March 2, 2009 | 6:52 pm

Former New York Mayor Ed Koch, 84, has been confronting his own mortality as of late. He’s saying goodbyes, apologizing to people and expressing regrets for some of his actions while in office. Not that he’s necessarily going to die anytime soon. He just wants to be ready.

The confirmed bachelor mayor (who still refuses to answer questions about his sexuality) is getting a jump on his funeral arrangements, having recruited a rabbi and installed his own headstone, which features the last words spoken by Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, The New York Times reports.

Whenever the ride is over, his funeral service will be held at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan. He has given his sister the names of several potential speakers, but has not made any other arrangements, including the music (“I love the Catholic hymns,” he said, “but they can’t be sung even in Temple Emanu-El”).

He will be buried in the nondenominational Trinity Church Cemetery in Upper Manhattan under a tombstone that quotes the last words of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter beheaded in 2002 by Islamic terrorists (“My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish”) and includes the most familiar Jewish prayer, in English and Hebrew, (“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One”) and the epitaph the former mayor wrote after his stroke:

“He was fiercely proud of his Jewish faith. He fiercely defended the City of New York, and he fiercely loved its people. Above all, he loved his country, the United States of America, in whose armed forces he served in World War II.”

“That’s it,” Mr. Koch said. “It takes up the whole stone.”

To see the headstone, click here.

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