Ed Koch quotes Daniel Pearl on tombstome: ‘My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.’

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch will rest beneath a tombstone bearing some of slain journalist Daniel Pearl’s last words on … Continued

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch will rest beneath a tombstone bearing some of slain journalist Daniel Pearl’s last words on his Jewish identity.

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch died Friday of congestive heart failure at 88.

Koch, born in 1924 to Jewish Polish immigrants, told the Associated Press in 2008 that he was so moved by some of slain journalist Daniel Pearl’s last words, spoken on a hostage video, that he chose to have them engraved on his tombstone.

Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan in 2002 while reporting on Islamic movements in the country. In a brochure on their Web site, The Daniel Pearl Foundation says of his last words:

“Pearl’s only crime was being a Jewish American — something Daniel Pearl would never deny,” President George W. Bush said at an event honoring him in 2007. Read Bush’s moving tribute to Pearl here.

According to Post reporting, Koch’s tombstone “also includes a Jewish prayer — the AP says it’s “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One” — and the epitaph [Koch] wrote after his stroke”:

Koch will be buried at the nondenominational Trinity Church Cemetery. In the 2008 AP report, “Koch said he was thrilled to learn from a former aide now working for Trinity that the church permits Jews to be buried there and still had space.”

More on: , ,


Elizabeth Tenety Elizabeth Tenety is the former editor of On Faith, where she produced "Divine Impulses," On Faith’s video interview series. She studied Theology and Government at Georgetown University and received her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A New York native, Elizabeth grew up in the home of Catholic news junkies where, somewhere in between watching the nightly news and participating in parish life, she learned to ponder both the superficial and the sacred.
  • Janis Altman

    Ed Koch was an amazing mayor.He was a man of passion and conviction.He worked for all New Yorkers.He was an advocate for victims and became the voice of all people.He was honest and forthright a strange combination for a political person.May God Bless him always.May his soul rise to greater and greater heights.


    Ed Koch was a horrible human being and a devastatingly bad mayor.

  • Who Is Jesus?


    I will pray that on your death bead you do not feel a great chasm awaiting you.

    I will pray that you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.


    Go soak in your superstition, Cletus.

Read More Articles

Screenshot 2014-04-23 11.40.54
Atheists Bad, Christians Good: A Review of “God’s Not Dead”

A smug Christian movie about smug atheists leads to an inevitable happy ending.

Ten Ways to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly

The author of the Church of England’s autism guidelines shares advice any church can follow.

Valle Header Art
My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

Why I Want to Be Culturally Evangelical

I’ve lost my faith. Do I have to lose my heritage, too?

What Is a Saint?

How the diversity of saintly lives reveals multiple paths toward God.

An Ayatollah’s Gift to Baha’is, Iran’s Largest Religious Minority

An ayatollah offers a beautiful symbolic gesture against a backdrop of violent persecution.

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.