Israel synagogue stabbing: Former USC student killed

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Rabbi Kalman Levine spent his formative years in Los Angeles and attended USC before moving to Jerusalem. He's among the three Israeli Americans murdered inside a synagogue. (KABC)

A former USC student and Los Angeles resident was identified as one of the three Israeli Americans murdered inside a Jerusalem synagogue by two Palestinian men.

Rabbi Kalman Levine was killed during an attack during morning prayers in the west Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof. In total, five people were killed, marking the deadliest assault in the holy city since 2008. The Palestinian men were shot to death by police.

Levine grew up in Kansas City, but spent many of his formative years living in Los Angeles and training with Rabbi Zvi Block.

Rabbi Block has mentored thousands of students over nearly four decades, but he said Levine may have been the smartest of all.

"They're like my children. I lost one of my best today," Block said.

"He was a sponge, very interested, wanting to learn, seeking out counsel, mentors. He was thirsting for knowledge and thirsting specifically for Jewish knowledge," Block said.

Levine was a part of Block's first class of college students at Toras HaShem. At the time, Levine was studying dentistry at the USC.

After two years of religious study with Block, Levine decided to leave USC, move to Jerusalem and become a rabbi.

Levine later sent Block a prayer book with a personalized message written inside: "If it wasn't for you, it's very possible I would have never had the opportunity to learn Torah. Thank you for changing my life."

Block would visit Levine every time he would travel to Israel.

"His abilities in learning were awesome. In 20 years from now, you would have heard from him as the leading rabbi in Jerusalem," Block said.

Per Jewish tradition, Levine's body was almost immediately buried. He is survived by 10 children.

Block is fearful that similar terrorist attacks will happen again.

"This issue is not going to go away. In the next 10 years, you're going to interview me over and over again on the same issue," Block said.

He continued: "Ultimately, Jewish survival is the expression of the love we have for each other. The love for humanity is expressed through the absolute commitment to the eradication of evil."

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