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2014-09-12 digital edition

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September 12, 2014  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Murdered journalist was a hero – and my friend

By DANIELLE BERRIN Jewish Journal of Los Angeles

Steven Sotloff grew up in the Miami area and held dual U.S. and Israeli citizenship Steven Sotloff grew up in the Miami area and held dual U.S. and Israeli citizenship I paused the video in panic when I saw his face: I know that face, I thought. It’s older and rounder than I remember, sallow from fear, but I know that face.

What the f--- is it doing in a terrorist propaganda video in which an American journalist is being gruesomely beheaded? For a moment, my mind was a muddle: The face I recognized – gentle-looking, sweet, but painfully stricken – was being named as ISIS’s next target. Who is this person? And why do I have this sinking feeling?

I stared at his face. At the young man on his knees, hands tied behind his back, while a menacing killer sheathed in head-to-toe black hovered over him, pulling his blood-orange shirt so tight it choked his neck. An instant later, a wave of heat swept over my skin as his name appeared on the screen in English and Arabic: Steven Sotloff.

It can’t be him. Not the Steven Sotloff I grew up with — the goofy, smiley, playfully mischievous kid from Miami I hadn’t seen in more than 15 years.

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