Synagogue President Found Stabbed to Death Amid Rising Antisemitic Threats

The president of a Detroit synagogue was tragically found stabbed to death outside her residence, according to local authorities. Samantha Woll, who served as the board president at Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue, was discovered unresponsive with multiple stab wounds. The motive behind the crime remains unclear, but it coincides with a surge in threats nationwide amid the ongoing Israeli-Hamas conflict in the Middle East.

Detroit police responded to a 911 call early Saturday morning, reporting an unresponsive individual in the 1300 block of Joliet Place. Upon arrival, they found Woll with multiple stab wounds and pronounced her dead at the scene. A trail of blood led to her residence, suggesting that the crime may have occurred there. However, officials have yet to release further details.

The synagogue expressed its shock and sorrow over Woll’s sudden death in a Facebook post. The post read, “We are shocked and saddened to learn of the unexpected death of Samantha Woll, our board president. At this point, we do not have more information but will share more when it becomes available. May her memory be a blessing.”

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, along with U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Lansing, paid tribute to Woll on social media. Nessel described Woll as one of the kindest people she knew, driven by her love for her community, state, and country. Slotkin mourned the loss of a woman who dedicated her life to building understanding across faiths and serving others.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan also expressed his devastation over the loss of Woll, whom he described as one of Detroit’s great young leaders. He recalled sharing a joyful day with her at the dedication of the newly renovated Downtown Synagogue, a project she led with pride and enthusiasm.

The murder occurred shortly after U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland directed all 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the FBI to maintain close contact with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners amid the escalating violence in the Middle East. He also urged U.S. Attorneys to reach out to religious and community leaders to reaffirm their commitment and assess any additional support they may need.

The Anti-Defamation League has reported an increase in antisemitic incidents in 2022, marking the third time in five years that the year-end total has reached a record high. Detroit police are urging anyone with information about Woll’s murder to contact the Homicide Section at 313-596-2260.