Samantha Woll was laid to rest by her family and loved ones on Sunday afternoon after the Detroit Jewish community leader was found murdered at her home yesterday morning.
Woll, 40, was the head of the Isaac Agree Downtown Detroit Synagogue. She was found dead at 6.30am yesterday at her home.
In a heart-wrenching speech delivered by her younger sister, Woll was commemorated, in the wake of her shocking death, for being selfless and loving.
There was ‘literally not anyone more caring or thoughtful than you,’ said her sister Monica.
‘If someone complimented something of yours you would take it off and give it to them. Your soul was beautiful and pure – you never said no, but ‘how can I help?’
‘You loved my kids as your own … you were my older sister, you taught me, protected me, loved me with all your heart,’ she said.
‘You so deeply wanted peace for this world. You fought for everyone, regardless of who they were, or were they came from. Your last text message was to a friend – just a heart, to cheer them up.
‘Sam I feel like I’m about to wake up from a horrible nightmare, and you will be hugging me and holding me. This was not supposed to happen.’
Samantha Woll, 40, was head of the Isaac Agree Downtown Detroit Synagogue since 2022, and was known for her work with several Democratic politicians including Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin
Woll had appeared in Detroit Jewish News ‘ ’36 under 36’ list in 2017, where she was noted as a ‘social justice and political activist’
Her devastated sibling concluded: ‘I promise to take care of mom and dad, always, we love you so much.’
Woll’s brother-in-law Ben spoke about the connective role she played inside their family.
He said that in a recent, somewhat fraught, family email chain, she wrote: ‘If and were there are some disconnects between the Jewish community and black lives matter, we need to engage more – not less.’
By several speakers at the extremely emotional funeral, Woll was remembered for her commitment to justice and equity.
Detroit police still have no suspect or motive for the frightening murder of a female synagogue president – 27 hours after she was knifed to death at her home.
Samantha Woll, 40, head of the Isaac Agree Downtown Detroit Synagogue, was found dead at 6.30am yesterday on Joliet Place – over a day later, police still say they have not made any arrests.
While it’s unclear if this was a hate attack, the shocking ordeal comes amid historic unrest in Israel and Gaza – and just days after the murder of a Muslim boy in Chicago.
Woll was known for her work within her community, and with several Democratic politicians including Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin.
Her body was reportedly discovered after someone traced a ‘trail of blood’ led to her home. She was found there with multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police say they are still investigating the crime, and have not released a motive for the crime.
It remains unclear if the killing has any relation to unrest in the Middle East.
Tributes quickly poured in for the religious leader, who was noted for her work building bridges between the Jewish and Muslim communities, as her synagogue expressed shock at her sudden, ‘unexpected’ passing.
‘At this point we do not have more information, but will share more when it becomes available,’ her synagogue said.
‘May her memory be a blessing.’
Woll was named in the Detroit Jewish News’ ’36 under 36′ list in 2017, which described her as a ‘social justice and political activist’.
‘She was instrumental in the founding of the Muslim-Jewish Forum of Detroit — a grassroots collective of young adults of both faiths who gather in partnership to learn, celebrate and build community together,’ the glowing profile read.
She was praised for helping ‘to build and deepen important relationships’ between local Jewish and Muslim communities, where she hosted ‘revolutionary events, including an Interfaith Iftar dinner welcoming Syrian refugees.’
Woll was tragically pronounced dead at the scene outside her home after suffering multiple stab wounds
Woll had been the head of the Isaac Agree Downtown Detroit Synagogue since 2022, and was also known for her work with several Democrat politicians
‘By extending her hand and creating space for connection between Muslims and Jews, she has exemplified the values of healing the world.’
Michigan has one of the largest Muslim populations per capita in the United States, according to the World Population Review.
Investigators have not indicated any link to the conflict in the Middle East, however it comes just days after US Attorney General Merrick Garland warned that Muslim and Jewish people are at an increased risk of threats and hate crimes due to the situation.
The fatal stabbing has also come just a week after Palestinian-American boy Wadea Al-Fayoume, 6, was stabbed to death in Illinois.
In a statement after the Jewish leaders’ death, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who Woll had also worked for on her re-election campaign, said she was ‘shocked, saddened and horrified’ at the ‘murder.’
‘Sam was as kind a person as I’ve ever known. She was driven by her sincere love of her community, state and country. Sam truly used her faith and activism to create a better place for everyone,’ Nessel said on X.
The Jewish leader’s body was discovered outside her home in the downtown area of Detroit, after police followed a trail of blood to her property
Michigan Attorney General Danal Nessel paid a heartbreaking tribute to Woll (pictured together), where she said the Jewish leader was ‘as kind a person as I’ve ever known’
Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin also praised Woll, saying she was one of the leaders who helped guide her office in her first full term in Washington.
‘She did for our team as Deputy District Director what came so naturally to her: helping others & serving constituents,’ she said on X.
‘Separately, in politics & in the Jewish community, she dedicated her short life to building understanding across faiths, bringing light in the face of darkness.’
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he was devastated ‘to learn of the loss of one of Detroit’s great young leaders.’
‘Just weeks ago, I shared a day of joy with Sam at the dedication of the newly renovated Downtown Synagogue. It was a project she successfully led with great pride and enthusiasm,’ he said in a statement.
‘Sam’s loss has left a huge hole in the Detroit community. This entire city joins with her family and friends in mourning her tragic death.’
State Rep. Noah Arbit, who is Jewish, described Woll as the ‘kindest, most beautiful soul’ as he paid his respects.
‘I am shattered and broken and unable to move. There are no words,’ he said.
‘The kindest, most beautiful soul taken in the most evil, brutal way. Sam was committed to justice and equality. In her name we will never give up. Baruch Dayan Emet, Sam. You were so loved and cherished.’