According to those who knew him, Yosef Robinson, the hip hop artist turned Orthodox Jews who was fatally shot during a liquor store robbery, inspired many people with his faith. One friend told the Daily News, "I would look at him and say, 'Yoseph, how can you be black and be Jewish?' And Yoseph would just look at me with this big smile and say, 'It's not about color, it's about faith.'" His employer at MB Vineyards wine shop in Brooklyn said, "He was a guy that changed his life around. This is the kind of guy we should all emulate."
Robinson allegedly attempted to wrestle the gun from the robber, who entered the Midwood liquor store on Thursday night. Robinson's girlfriend, Lahavah Wallace, said, "He jumped over the counter and wrestled with the guy with the gun and told me to go." Wallace hid in the backroom and then heard shots. When she emerged, Robinson was bleeding on the floor. “He was struggling to breathe."
Robinson was born in Jamaica, but moved to New York when he was 12. At age 16, he began selling drugs. Gail Levi, who recently heard him speak at a synagogue, said, "He was a gangster with all the money, women and drugs that power could buy. But he realized it was empty and wanted to change." At age 23 he converted to Orthodox Judaism. Despite his new life, he still had problems. He was going through a divorce and a custody battle at the time of his death, saying his wife wouldn't let him talk to their six-year-old daughter. He also accused his wife of "straying from an observant lifestyle." However, he seemed to be a beloved character in his neighborhood. One neighbor said, "Most of us Jews in Brooklyn are not that interesting. Yoseph was the most interesting and charismatic person."