A body found by Nassau County police on the property of Temple Emanu-El on Saturday afternoon warranted a large police presence at the synagogue that lasted into the evening.
Police said they received a 911 call reporting a man walking and stumbling on Merrick Avenue near Hempstead Turnpike at around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. When they arrived on the scene, they said, they found the man unconscious in the rear parking area of the synagogue, at 123 Merrick Ave., where he was pronounced dead. Police declared it a homicide.
The man’s name was being withheld pending family notification, but police said he is a 34-year-old Jamaican national. The cause of death was a drug overdose, authorities said on Tuesday, adding that they were awaiting toxicology reports from the medical examiner’s office.
Rabbi Daniel Bar-Nahum, the spiritual leader of Temple Emanu-El, said the synagogue had closed at about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, after its morning services and activities. Later in the evening, while attending a family event in New Jersey, he said, he received a call from the temple’s president, who told him about the incident.
Bar-Nahum said that everything he has heard about the man’s death since then has been from news outlets. “The reports stated that some people called the police, advising them about a person in distress,” he said on Monday, “and they found him on our property.”
No one was in the synagogue at the time, Bar-Nahum said. “We don’t know who this person was,” he said. “It doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the congregation.
“It is a sad thing to have a discovery like that on our property,” he added. “We’re cooperating with the authorities to the extent that we can.”