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Old 12-04-2008, 11:51 PM   #1
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Another hate crime or tragic accident?

Quote:
Questions linger about death of Israeli activist
By Amanda Pazornik · December 4, 2008

Photos 1 out of 1
Previous Forward Other Media
Dr. Daniel Kliman was among the founders of San Francisco Voice for Israel, which was dedicated to publicly denouncing anti-Israel sentiment. (Courtesy of the Kilman family) the j. the jewish news weekly of Northern California

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) -- Police said this week that the mysterious death of an outspoken pro-Israel activist appeared to be accidental, but friends and family of Dr. Daniel Kliman insist he was the victim of foul play.

“We almost expected something would happen to him at some point, given his activism and trips to Israel,” said Kliman’s brother, Jonathan. “We didn’t expect what seemed to have happened to him. It seems really odd, and I’m glad the investigations are continuing.”

Kliman’s body was discovered Dec. 1 at the bottom of an elevator shaft in the historic Sharon Building at 55 New Montgomery St. in San Francisco. Apparently it had been there for six days.

Kliman, a 38-year-old internist who lived alone in Oakland, was supposed to leave for Israel on Thanksgiving, giving friends and family no reason to question his whereabouts.

As of Dec. 3, a San Francisco Police Department spokesman was saying that Kliman’s death appeared to have been an accident, citing police Inspector Matt Krimsky’s suggestion that Kliman died Nov. 25 after climbing out of an elevator stuck between the sixth and seventh floors.

Police have since formed a task force including officers from the hate crimes department and homicide unit to look into possible causes of Kliman's death.

On Nov. 25, a surveillance camera recorded Kliman waiting for an elevator in the lobby. Authorities continue to analyze that footage, plus other evidence they obtained from the scene. An autopsy report is pending.

Kliman was taking classes at Pacific Arabic Resources on the seventh floor of the Sharon Building. It is unclear why he was in the building, as classes during the week of Thanksgiving had been canceled.

“A number of us find the circumstances of his death rather suspicious,” said Michael Harris, a longtime friend who helped found the advocacy group San Francisco Voice for Israel with Kliman. “Given that he was a relatively well-known public figure for Israel advocacy in the Bay Area, he would have people who strongly disagreed with the causes he stood up for.

“Two days before he’s going to Israel and [on] a day when there were no classes, why would he have been in the building?”

Jonathan Bernstein, the director of the Central Pacific Region of the Anti-Defamation League, said Dec. 3 that he had had several conversations with the San Francisco Police Department concerning the possible cause of Kliman’s death.

“[The police] clearly understood Dan’s background and how he was a recognizable figure in the Jewish community and was often out there demonstrating against anti-Israel demonstrations,” Bernstein said. “They understand why they need to look at this a little differently.”

Word of Kliman’s death spread quickly throughout the Zionist community in the Bay Area and beyond.

Harris said he was stunned to hear the news about Kliman, whom he met in 2003 when the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Relations Council rallied pro-Israel individuals to combat local anti-Zionist and anti-Israel protests.

A year later Harris, Kliman and a number of local activists formed San Francisco Voice for Israel. The group, an affiliate of the StandWithUs national Israel advocacy organization, was dedicated to publicly denouncing anti-Israel sentiment.

The passionate and take-charge Kliman designed and disseminated pro-Israel fliers and documented protests with a series of clips on YouTube.

“Dan had a much larger-than-life personality,” Harris said. “He was passionately committed to Israel. Without any question, he was the real driving force of San Francisco Voice for Israel.”

He added, “We would joke that Dan seemed to be somewhat incident-prone. He wouldn’t start a confrontation, but he wouldn’t back down from one either.”

Adamant about never owning a car, and very much against even riding in one -- his father was killed in an automobile accident four years ago -- Kliman would arrive at rallies throughout the Bay Area on his bicycle.

Harris called him a “bicycle activist” who was reluctant to take car rides from anyone. Before moving to the Bay Area, Kliman founded St. Louis Critical Mass, a monthly protest ride that aimed to draw attention to how unfriendly the city was to bicyclists.

During Bike Summer 1999, a huge celebration of bicycle culture, Kliman organized a post-ride Shabbat service in Duboce Park with prayer books and candles.

“Jews and non-Jews stood in a circle and sang L’cha Dodi,” recalled Katherine Roberts, who met Kliman when he traveled from Chicago to San Francisco for the bike event. “It was this wonderfully inclusive event, and incredibly unique and brilliant. It was the only Shabbat service I can remember.”

Roberts, a fellow bicycle activist, said she didn’t always agree with her good friend Kliman or his feelings toward Israel, but their differences never interfered with the friendship.

“If you have radical or philosophical differences, it usually causes a friction,” Roberts said. “I never had that with Dr. Dan. He was a wonderful person -- the only Orthodox gay vegetarian bicycling doctor I knew. I was so impressed with his uniqueness.”

An active member of Beth Jacob Congregation, an Orthodox synagogue near his home, Kliman attended Havdalah services regularly and always was involved when the temple had any pro-Israel programming.

A shaken Rabbi Judah Dardik said this week he still feels as if Kliman is going to walk through his synagogue’s doors.

“Dan was a very lively, alive and vibrant person,” Dardik said. “You really knew when he was in the room. To know he’s not going to be in the room anymore is a big shocker.”

On more than one occasion, the rabbi asked Kliman to his home for Shabbat dinner. Dardik recalled that although Kliman found the meat on the table revolting, he still accepted the invitation.

“Dan said he never ate anything that ever had a mother,” Dardik said with a laugh. “He had a few causes that he fought for and cared about. He’s someone I learned a lot from.”

Funeral services will be held in Schenectady, N.Y., pending the arrival of Kliman’s body, according to Jonathan Kliman, who lives in Hadley, Mass.

Along with his brother, Kliman is survived by his mother, Edith, of Schenectady. Kliman was predeceased by his father, Gerald.
Something doesn't smell right.

How can an educated doctor fall to his death down an elevator shaft?

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Old 12-05-2008, 12:35 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diamond View Post
How can an educated doctor fall to his death down an elevator shaft?

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From what I understand, the laws of gravity still apply to educated people.
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Old 12-05-2008, 01:00 AM   #3
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The law is to everyone, as for that doctor death, that's something only he knows.
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Old 12-05-2008, 06:23 AM   #4
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From what I understand, the laws of gravity still apply to educated people.
That was a sad story, but indra had a valid point.
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:33 AM   #5
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i know, i know there's an epedemic of educated citizens in our country inadvertently falling down elevator shafts.

silly me.

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Old 12-05-2008, 09:32 AM   #6
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elevator shaft deaths - Yahoo! Search Results
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diamond View Post
i know, i know there's an epedemic of educated citizens in our country inadvertently falling down elevator shafts.

silly me.

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nevertheless, freak accidents do happen.
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Old 12-05-2008, 01:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diamond View Post
i know, i know there's an epedemic of educated citizens in our country inadvertently falling down elevator shafts.

silly me.

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Right, because accidents only happen to stupid people?
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Old 12-05-2008, 11:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diemen View Post
Right, because accidents only happen to stupid people?



Not always but "freak accidents" usually do not happen to people who are and extremely bright and cautious.

Consider these items:

This guy was extremely cautious, above average intellegence -being a MD.

He didn't drive a car, because he thought they were too dangereous-so he became an avid bicylist.

He was an out spoken Pro Isreal supporter. He openly demonstrated at Pro Israel rallies in the Bay area.

He was Jewish, and studying the Arabic lanagauge and taking classes to learn more.

He had a boyfriend that was Arabic in his class but he walked into an open elevator shaft.

The "freak accident" happened in the building where his language classes take place and the night he died he had shown up for class but didn't get the email that class had been cancelled that night-but the rest of his classmates did.



Any room to take a closer look?

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Old 12-06-2008, 12:51 AM   #10
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He was probably on his cell phone talking to some other "smart guy" (boyfriend maybe?) to say he'd be home early cause class was cancelled, so he wasn't looking at where he was going and then, BAM, GRAVITY'D!

And riding a bicycle because you think cars are too dangerous - that's not exactly a sign of genius, man.
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Old 12-06-2008, 02:38 AM   #11
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looks like signs of a struggle.
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1204sharondoorone.jpg   1204sharondoortwo.jpg  

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Old 12-06-2008, 02:47 AM   #12
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Another article:

Quote:
Doctor killed in mysterious elevator shaft fall
Kevin Fagan, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 3, 2008




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(12-02) 21:16 PST -- It was a bizarre and abrupt way to die for a man who, by all accounts, went at life full-bore and was fit and agile from riding his bicycle everywhere he went.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Elevator Plunge
Police think doctor was stuck in elevator (12/3)
Doctor killed in mysterious fall (12/2)



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But as San Francisco police combed over the evidence Tuesday, investigators said this is what appears to have happened: Dr. Daniel J. Kliman, an Alameda physician and one of the Bay Area's foremost pro-Israel activists, stepped into an open elevator shaft by accident last week and died.

His body was found Monday by workers inspecting an elevator in the historic, nine-story Sharon Building at 55 New Montgomery St., where Kliman apparently plunged to his death Nov. 25. As news of the discovery filtered out Tuesday, his supporters and friends were in near disbelief that someone so dynamic could be gone.

"The first words that come to mind for me when I think of Daniel are 'vibrant' and 'alive,' " said Rabbi Judah Dardik of Beth Jacob Congregation, the orthodox synagogue in Oakland where Kliman was an active member. "That's why this is such a shock. Whenever he was in the room, he was such a huge presence."

Co-founded activist group

Kliman, 38, lived near the temple in Oakland and was perhaps best known as co-founder of S.F. Voice for Israel, a 4-year-old organization that vociferously demonstrates on behalf of Israeli causes. He also maintained a practice in Alameda as a doctor of internal medicine and was an ardent proponent of vegetarianism and alternative transportation to cars.

He had been taking Arabic language courses in the Sharon Building for three years and was last seen, investigators said, on the night of Nov. 25, when he went there to attend a class on the seventh floor.

Police Inspector Matt Krimsky said Kliman apparently fell through an open elevator door on the seventh floor, although the building's manager insists the door must have been secured.

The elevator in that shaft was out of order at the time, building manager Brad Bernheim said. By design, doors to a malfunctioning elevator are clamped shut and can be opened only by a mechanic, said Erika Monterroza, spokeswoman for Cal/OSHA.


The details of how Kliman wound up in the shaft are being investigated by police and Cal/OSHA.


Rare but not unheard of

Cal/OSHA regulates elevators but keeps no statistics on accidents in them, Monterroza said. She noted that serious incidents are rare but not unheard of. In 2001, a 2-year-old boy plunged to his death down a five-story shaft in the Tenderloin on Christmas morning when he crawled into an opening between the floor and the elevator.

Monterroza said the Sharon Building's elevator had been inspected Nov. 4 and was found to be sound. It was installed in 1914 and modernized in 1976, she said.

Some in Kliman's activist community wondered Tuesday if he had been killed by someone he loudly opposed in street demonstrations over the years, but Krimsky called that possibility "beyond remote."

"There is no indication of any foul play at this point, even though I've been getting calls from conspiracy theorists from everywhere, even someone who said they had information from a seance," Krimsky said.

Pushing for probe

Faith Meltzer, a member of S.F. Voice for Israel, said she will push police to investigate the matter until all chance of homicide is eliminated.

"It's hard for me to believe this wasn't deliberate," Meltzer said.

However, Penny Rosenwasser, a national board member of Jewish Voice for Peace who found herself on the opposite side of picket lines from Kliman protesting Israel's actions in Palestinian lands, said she found the notion impossible to believe.

"I can't imagine anyone I know doing something like that," she said.

Suicide seemed equally unlikely to those who knew Kliman. Meltzer said any speculation that such a robust man took his own life is ridiculous.

The Arabic class Kliman came to attend on the last night of his life had been canceled, but he apparently didn't know that, said close friend Marshall Schwartz.

"He wanted to learn more about the language, and liked studying there," Schwartz said. Kliman thought of himself as pro-Israel but not anti-Arab, he added, and had even dated an instructor at the language program in the past.

Managers of the program that runs the classes, Pacific Arabic Resources, declined to comment Tuesday.

Planned trip to Israel

Kliman lived alone in Oakland, and when he wasn't heard from for a couple of days, none of his friends found it unusual enough to be alarmed.

"He was supposed to fly to Israel on vacation on Thanksgiving Day, which is why he couldn't take my invitation for Thanksgiving dinner," Schwartz said. "So when he was missing for those days, we all assumed he'd just gone to Israel."

Meltzer said Kliman helped found S.F. Voice after seeing a surge of protests in San Francisco in the early 2000s criticizing Israeli actions.

"A lot of us came from a left-leaning background, and suddenly we saw this anti-Semitism in the streets and felt we had to address the issue," Meltzer said. "Dan was an activist, so it was a natural thing for him to do."

Many causes

As a passionate vegetarian, Kliman dined regularly with the group Vegi-Jews in San Francisco. As an alternative transportation advocate, he participated in Critical Mass and similar bicycle protests in St. Louis and San Francisco - an issue that became even more personal to him after his father, Gerald Kliman of Schenectady, N.Y., was killed four years ago in a car wreck.

And as a single gay man, Kliman campaigned against Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment that voters approved Nov. 4 to ban same-sex marriage.

"It's hard for me to see how he found the time to do what he did," Meltzer said. "He was just a man who absolutely loved life."

Kliman is survived by his mother, Edith Kliman of Schenectady, N.Y., and a brother, Jonathan Kliman of Massachusetts.


This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
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Old 12-06-2008, 02:52 AM   #13
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Who doesn't look to see the lift is there before they step in?
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Old 12-06-2008, 03:31 AM   #14
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Who doesn't look to see the lift is there before they step in?
educated pro israeli gay doctors w arabic boyfriends according to a few here.

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Old 12-06-2008, 04:19 AM   #15
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I thought he was murdered
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