Quantcast

Jewish Journal

In Memoriam - Howard Epstein - 20 Years Ago Today

by Rabbi John Rosove

April 30, 2012 | 5:26 pm

The day after the Rodney King verdict twenty years ago I received a call from long-time Temple Israel members, Lillian and Marty Epstein, that their son Howard (who was about my age) was missing. As soon as the rioting had begun, Howard flew from Oakland Airport near his family home in Orinda to attend to his business located in South-Central Los Angeles. He had owned and operated a factory there for a number of years and employed 20 workers. These were people he knew and about whom he cared. He knew all their families, and so, when the riots erupted Howard felt it his duty to be with them.

He landed at LAX in the late afternoon, rented a car, and commenced his 15 minute drive to his place of business. Along the way somewhere he vanished. By evening no one had heard from him. Given the tumult in the city, his wife, Stephanie, and parents were worried.

The following day, exactly 20 years ago today, the police contacted Lillian and Marty with the news. At a stop light Howard was approached by two men who murdered him at point blank range and then took everything of value in his car. The police were able to identify Howard only by tracing the car to the rental agency.

Howard had deliberately moved a couple of years earlier with Stephanie and their two small children out of Los Angeles because he felt the city was no longer safe and he did not want to raise his children in this environment.

When the rioting stopped, we honored Howard’s memory in a memorial service in our synagogue Sanctuary where he had become bar mitzvah. His family and friends described Howard as among the most kind, community conscious and caring of men, a true rachaman ben rachmanim, a compassionate son of compassionate parents.

I remember Howard every year at this time, and especially today, 20 years and a day after his tragic death.

Zichrono livracha. May his memory be a blessing.

Tracker Pixel for Entry

COMMENTS

We welcome your feedback.

Privacy Policy

Your information will not be shared or sold without your consent. Get all the details.

Terms of Service

JewishJournal.com has rules for its commenting community.Get all the details.

Publication

JewishJournal.com reserves the right to use your comment in our weekly print publication.

ADVERTISEMENT
PUT YOUR AD HERE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

{blog_image:alt}

Rabbi John L. Rosove assumed his duties as Senior Rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood in November 1988. A native of Los Angeles, he earned a BA in Art History from UC Berkeley...

Read more