Ed Koch Funeral Held In New York Reform Synagogue, Burial in Christian Cemetery

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ed-kochFrom a Fox News report: Ed Koch couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate song to herald his final farewell to New York City.

Strains of the famed song, “New York, New York,” rang throughout a Manhattan synagogue on Monday as the colorful former mayor’s coffin was carried past thousands of mourners. The packed crowd broke into a spontaneous standing ovation as the coffin made its way out of the synagogue.

Koch died Friday of congestive heart failure at age 88.

Outside on Fifth Avenue, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Mayors Rudolph Giuliani and David Dinkins held their hands to theirs hearts. NYPD helicopters flew overhead and bagpipes wailed on the freezing February afternoon.

Koch was remembered as the quintessential New Yorker during a funeral that frequently elicited laughter, recalling his famous one-liners and amusing antics in the public eye.

“We had such respect for him because of his outsized personality,” Bloomberg told the crowd. “Matched by his integrity, his intelligence and his independence.”

Koch will be buried at the Trinity Church cemetery in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood.

Recalling Koch as “brash and irreverent,” Bloomberg said the man who governed the city during the 1970s and 1980s must be “beaming” from all the attention created by his death.

“No mayor, I think, has ever embodied the spirit of New York City like he did,” Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg noted that the funeral was being held near “a certain East River span” — referring to the 59th Street bridge, which was renamed the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge in 2011.

Describing the bridge dedication ceremony, Bloomberg drew laughter from the crowd as he recalled Koch stood there for 20 minutes, yelling: “Welcome to my bridge!”

Former President Bill Clinton, who served as a representative for President Barack Obama at the funeral, said the world was a better place because Koch had “lived and served.”

“He had a big brain,” Clinton said. “But he had a bigger heart.”

Koch was a friend of both Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, and was helpful during her successful campaign for the U.S. Senate from New York, according to Koch spokesman George Arzt. Koch also backed Hillary Clinton in her presidential run.

The funeral was held at a Reform Jewish congregation on Fifth Avenue.

“I don’t want to leave Manhattan, even when I’m gone,” Koch told The Associated Press in 2008 after purchasing a burial plot in Trinity Church Cemetery, at the time the only graveyard in Manhattan that still had space. “This is my home. The thought of having to go to New Jersey was so distressing to me.”

Read more at FOX NEWS.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Nebach. A real tinok shenishbah. It is so acutely painful to read how he chose to bypass kever Yisroel and is buried in the Trinity Church Cemetery– with Shema Yisroel engraved on his tombstone. What a disturbingly perfect pictorial on the woeful state of golus.

  2. He had bechiroh in life and had bechiro in the way to die. Sadly he chose the wrong path. But truth be told he is a tinoik shenishbu, so its up to Hshem to decide where he is headed

  3. Although he might not have lived his life as an Orthodox Jew, he was fiercely proud to be Jewish and always stood up for Israel. His burial choices might not have been ideal but at least he knew enough to want to identify as a Jew even in death, which is more than the majority of Jews today. Instead of criticizing him for faults which were out of his control we should be praising him for at least trying.

  4. Is it not amazing that as Frum people, all of the above commentators failed to be mashpia Mr. Koch. Maybe there was something within the Jewish religion, that Mr. Koch felt he could not connect with observance.

  5. Thank you RSG. Well said. I do not however believe that the term “Tinok Shenishba” refers to him. He made choices and had the ability to do so.

  6. It’s not a Christian cemetery. The cemetery at 155th St., where Mayor Koch is, although owned by Trinity Church, is “non-denominational”. It’s not a “Jewish” cemetery, but it’s not Christian either.

  7. I read the posted comments and I certainly agree with them, and yet – who knows for sure what is the cheshbon of the RSO? Ed Koch, at great personal risk,fought with the American army in Europe during WWII, and probably sent many Nazis directly to Geheinom. Can any reader tell me that these acts of killing the modern Amalek did not outweigh any perceived failings in his later life?

  8. He arranged for a Jewish cemetery to be made there – he spoke with Orthodox Rabbonim who told him it was ok if they made a gate separating this section from the rest of the cemetery, which they did. It was dedicated as a Jewish cemetery several years ago for him. I am sure that Rabbi Potasnik, a musmach of YU, who participated in the funeral, ensured halachah was followed in the kevurah asuch as was feasable

  9. Not much sympathy for him, but he had planned his funeral and kvura and tombstone a number of years in advance, and consulted with reputable rabbonim so that the burial should be arranged according to halacha. I remember even a new gate being opened, to be devoted only to Jewish funeral processions. Money was not an issue, he wanted to be buried in Manhattan, but he could simply have bought a plot, instead he went out of his way – a lot out of his way – to act according to Torah, sure he did because he was a proud Jew and not because of love of Torah, nevertheless it is a huge merit and I am sure is making a big difference to him right now. I do not like the title: he was not buried in a xian cemetery, and as for the reform “congregation”, I doubt any orthodox synagogue would have wanted to get involved, either for the funeral or during his lifetime, given his lifestyle. Yet, that too was not done b’farhesia, and this also I am sure is making a difference to him right now.

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