Around midnight Saturday, on a downtown Detroit street often filled with party goers jumping from bar to bar, dozens of candles were lit in front of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue to honor its warm and energetic president Samantha Woll, who was found fatally stabbed earlier in the day outside her home, just east of downtown in the city's Lafayette Park neighborhood.
The last minute vigil, which was attended by nearly two dozen people, both Jews and non-Jews, was organized by Larry Mongo and Josh Greenwood, who own night clubs on Griswold, on the same block as the synagogue. Both knew Woll, 40, and were extremely fond of her.
"She was an amazing spirit, an amazing steward of the neighborhood," said Greenwood. "She's going to be sorely missed. What an amazing human."
The gathering included a Jewish prayer recited in death outside the synagogue that had recently completed a nearly $6 million renovation. Woll spoke at the reopening ceremony in late August, in which a number of dignitaries attended including Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.
Because of the rise in anti-Semitism and the brewing worldwide tensions over the Israel-Hamas conflict, the slaying has garnered international attention.
The Detroit Police and FBI are investigating and have not ruled out any possibilities including a random robbery or a hate crime.