Body of suspected Boston Marathon bomber buried

The body of suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been buried and is no longer in the city of Worcester, Massachusetts, where it had been held at a funeral home, the Worcester Police Department said on Thursday.

The police did not disclose where the body had been moved.

“A courageous and compassionate individual came forward to provide the assistance to properly bury the deceased,” said Worcester Police Sergeant Kerry Hazelhurst.

The 26-year-old ethnic Chechen died in an April 19 gun battle with police, four days after he and his younger brother Dzhokhar are suspected of having set off bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured 264.

The question of where to bury the elder Tsarnaev had proven to be a thorny one, with city officials in Boston and in neighboring Cambridge, where he lived, refusing to accept the body for burial.

His widow, Katherine Russell, had asked that Tsarnaev's body be released to his family. An uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Maryland, said on Sunday he had wanted his nephew to be buried in Massachusetts.

Russell's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tsarni could not be reached.

A crowd had picketed outside the Worcester Graham Putnam & Mahoney funeral home where the body had been held since it was claimed from the medical examiner last week.

Dzohkhar Tsarnaev, who faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted on charges related to the April 15 bombings, is being held at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. He was moved there on April 26 after nearly a week in a Boston hospital where he received treatment for wounds sustained in the gun battle that left his brother dead.

Tamerlan died of gunshot wounds as well as blunt trauma to the head and torso, which resulted from both an exchange of fire with police in Watertown, outside Boston, as well as injuries that resulted when his brother drove over him as he fled.

Separately on Thursday, the family of the youngest victim to die in the attack – 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was standing by the finish line when the bombs went off – said that their 7-year-old daughter Jane was showing improvement, with surgeons at Boston Children's Hospital closing the wound left when the blast tore off her left leg below the knee.

“By closing the wound, the incredible medical team at Boston Children's Hospital laid the groundwork for Jane to take an important step forward on the long and difficult road ahead of her,” the family said in a statement. “We take today's development as positive news.”

Additional reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss, editing by G Crosse

Worcester, Mass., synagogue, day school building seized by IRS

A building housing a synagogue and Jewish day school in Worcester, a city in central Massachusetts, has been seized by the Internal Revenue Service.

Yeshiva Achei Tmimim synagogue and Yeshiva Academy day school in Worcester were seized for “nonpayment of internal revenue taxes,” the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported. The yeshiva owes $435,235.31 in federal taxes, dating back to 2004, most in payroll taxes, according to the newspaper, citing the IRS and the Worcester County Registry of Deeds. A public auction has been scheduled for Jan. 4, with sealed bidding starting at $472,000.

The school and synagogue are continuing to operate as normal, according to the newspaper.

They have other creditors besides the IRS, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, including water and sewer charges, and a mortgage, among others.

Last year, a bank foreclosed on a yeshiva dormitory that was purchased by synagogue member Steve Gaval for $61,000, the report said. He and his wife are renovating the property as a private residence. Michelle Gaval told the newspaper, “We wanted someone in the community to keep it, rather than let someone else take it. We just felt like someone Jewish should own it.”

The Women of Worcester

The third annual daylong symposium sponsored by the Jewish Federation in Worcester, Mass., was titled, "A Woman’s Voice," without the slightest hint of irony. Less than a generation ago, "a woman’s voice" meant only one thing, the talmudic prohibition of Orthodox men toward hearing the sound of Jewish women in prayer.

Kol isha (a woman’s voice) was used as the legal barrier against women becoming rabbis and cantors, the excuse for exclusion.

That’s why I named this newspaper column A Woman’s Voice, to break down a wall.

There were some 100 women at the Woman’s Voice seminar at the Worcester Jewish Community Center (JCC), and many had no idea what blocks had been hurdled. Why should they? By a showing of hands, more than three-quarters of those in attendance had had a bat mitzvah, most of them as adults. They were at the JCC to refine personal skills ("winning without whining"), enhance their spirituality and celebrate themselves as part of Massachusetts’ second largest Jewish city, with its own revolutionary history.

It was an activist crowd, and many were interested in knowing how Jewish experience in transforming our own rituals could help women in Afghanistan. For a woman with a memory, attending such events can provide the thrill of the normal, to see how earlier dreams had come true.

We have come far. But that was the rub. The more I talked about women’s victories of the recent past, the more I worried about the present, not to mention the future.

Pride has its limits.

It has been clear since Sept. 11 that our children, especially our college- and high school-age youth, do not feel equipped to fight the current rhetorical and political battle on behalf of the Jewish state. My sisters in Worcester are worried, too. They confirmed it last weekend with their own family stories, so I know it’s not merely the attention deficit of those raised near Hollywood. Their sons and daughters, like those I see in Los Angeles, are not picking up the torch.

Daunted by the military challenge? Overwhelmed by the politics? Terrified by terrorism? Who knows? They should be in the heat of the debate. They are not.

Perhaps they’ve been too infused by the left-leaning equivocation of the Vietnam generation. Instead, the generation now coming into adulthood is still, politically speaking, deferring to us, their parents. These are young men and women with strong Jewish backgrounds, who have visited Israel, who date Jews. They are saying, "We are numb. Help us."

I have heard too many conversations in which parents set the agenda and state their positions. The young sit by in silence.

If you are a college-age Jewish activist, write to me. I want to understand. Meanwhile, we, the parents generation, can’t wait any longer. We must find a way to help you help us. There is so much to be done, and much of it is waiting for you.

I don’t want to remind you about the Six-Day War and how it transformed young Jews of your parents’ time. You will find your own coming-of-age experience to bind you to Israel.

In the present crisis, every Jewish event must be used for community organizing. There is no chance for downtime, to gaze at the glories of the past without energizing ourselves for the current battle.

Every luncheon must include a) an educational update on Israel; b) a letter-writing campaign to legislators urging continued support for Israel, reviving the techniques of the Soviet Jewry campaign; c) outreach to the local campus or Hillel; and d) informational material on how to talk to your children about Israel.

Let’s help the next generation gain its voice.