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JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE LEADER IRV RUBIN BURIED FAMILY SEEKS PROBE OF DEATH IN CUSTODY.

Byline: Susan Abram Staff Writer

SYLMAR - Irv Rubin, considered the face of the Jewish Defense League for more than a decade, was laid to rest Sunday at services in which family and friends remembered him as a leader who fought tirelessly against anti-Semitism.

About 200 relatives and supporters of various faiths gathered at the Sholom Memorial Park in Sylmar for a traditional Orthodox Jewish funeral and burial of Rubin, who died Wednesday.

Rubin, 57, died 10 days after authorities said he tried to kill himself in the downtown federal jail, where he was being held on charges of plotting to blow up a mosque and the office of a Lebanese-American congressman.

Though his activism was considered extreme by some, others described him as a caring, unselfish and passionate man who was a hero of the voiceless.

``He cared for the elderly. He cared for the defenseless. He cared for anyone who needed help,'' said Rabbi Tzvi Block. ``Irv was not a religious man, but he was a very Jewish man. He gave so much, and now he gives his life.'' Rubin's sister Ina Perlman remembered playing at the park and wrestling with him as a child.

``He was smart, he was strong, and he was committed,'' Perlman said. ``Rest in peace, little brother.''

Rubin was a teenager when his family moved to the Valley from Canada, and he graduated from Granada Hills High School in 1963.

It was on the California State University, Northridge, campus in the 1970s that he heard JDL founder Rabbi Meir Kahane deliver a speech. Rubin became national chairman of the organization in 1985.

Rubin was charged with but ultimately acquitted of solicitation of murder after a 1978 Los Angeles news conference in which he offered $500 to anyone who killed or injured a member of the American Nazi Party.

``Irv is a true Jewish hero,'' JDL member Earl Krugel said in a printed statement read at the funeral service by a family attorney. ``I will miss (him), and I promise ... I'll stay strong and see this through.''

Rubin had been in jail along with Krugel since December for allegedly plotting to bomb a Southern California mosque and the office of Rep. Darrell E. Issa, R-Calif., who is the grandson of Lebanese immigrants.

Family and friends took turns shoveling dirt over Rubin's white, wooden coffin. Rubin's wife, Shelley Rubin, joined other family members and friends in thanking his supporters via a printed statement read by JDL spokesman Brett Stone.

``The outpouring of love we have received from all segments of the community, both Jewish and non-Jewish, has been overwhelming and extremely comforting to us,'' Stone read aloud.

But family and friends continue to question the circumstances of Rubin's death and are calling for a full investigation. His family is considering filing a civil lawsuit against the federal government in his death, their attorney's have said.

``We still want to know the truth of what happened to Irv,'' the printed statement says. ``We want an independent investigation into the events surrounding Irv's injuries and death. No person deserves to die while in the custody of the U.S. government.''

Security was tight around the memorial park. Federal agents patrolled the grounds and watched the area, said funeral director Kim Rose.

``We're pleased that everything went well and safe,'' Rose said.

Many of Rubin's supporters said they admired his courage, even if they did not share his faith.

``I'm a Catholic, and I feel this man was a prophet,'' said Joan Angeles, a member of the Catholic Defense League. ``This is how they die. I didn't know him, but I was familiar with his work. It was horrible the way he died, and I'm sure there will be an investigation.''

Roberto Gandara, who along with Rubin won a lawsuit against the Burbank City Council in 1999 for beginning its meetings with a prayer invoking Jesus Christ, remembered his friend's personality as different from the one portrayed in the media.

``He was an extremely sensitive man,'' Gandara said. ``If you knew him, you knew him to be very patriotic.''

Burbank has since filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court.

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Photo:

Mourners walk near the hearse of Jewish Defense League leader Irv Rubin on Sunday.

Phil McCarten/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 18, 2002
Words:713
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