The synagogue at which Rabbi Meir Kahane had been scheduled to speak on Tuesday night was the scene instead of a memorial service for the Jewish Defense League founder who was assassinated in New York last week.
More than 1,000 mourners jammed into the sanctuary of Congregation B'nai David-Judea on Pico Boulevard, where they cheered and applauded as speakers compared Kahane to Jewish leaders from Moses to Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement.
Although the program called for the singing of "Hatikva," the Israeli national anthem, organizers from Kach International, the fund-raising arm of Kahane's Israeli political party, said the evening would be strictly religious in nature. It opened with a recital of three Psalms instead.
"The messenger is not here any more but his message will live on," said Philip Schroit, rabbi emeritus of the synagogue, which was the only Jewish institution in Los Angeles that regularly offered Kahane a place to speak.
Rabbi Pinchas Groman, president of the Rabbinical Council of California, said American authorities who declined to restore Kahane's citizenship, the Israeli parliament that barred him from running for reelection and fellow rabbis who would not give Kahane a hearing should all ask for forgiveness.
Although spokesmen for major Jewish organizations considered him to be a "fringe element," he voiced the thoughts of many individual Jews, speakers at the service said.
Three police officers were stationed outside the synagogue, but there were no incidents.