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Janklow's Jewish heritage honored during his funeral

State Sen. Stan Adelstein, R-Rapid City, blows the Shofar, a traditional horn used in Jewish ceremonies, before the start of the funeral service Wednesday for Bill Janklow. (Chris Huber/Republic)

SIOUX FALLS -- For a man who led such a public life for such a long time, Bill Janklow kept a few personal details private.

Janklow's funeral was held at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, but the Jewish faith of his father and two of his brothers was honored as well during the funeral Wednesday.

State Sen. Stan Adelstein, R-Rapid City, a lay rabbi, was given a position of honor at the start of the funeral.

Adelstein wore a kippot, also known as a yarmulke, atop his head, a prayer shawl known as a tallit, and blew the Shofar, a ceremonial ram's horn, to open the service.

Bishop David Zellmer, who presided at the service, said he was told there was a "Jewish side" to the Janklow family and their faith would be part of the service. Zellmer said he readily agreed to that.

During the service, Zellmer said many people condemned Janklow for the fatal car-motorcycle crash he caused by running a stop sign in 2003. He said for some people, there was no excuse for the fatal crash.

"Except in Jesus Christ," Zellmer said. "There is forgiveness. Your sin is forgiven."

He also praised Janklow and his widow, Mary Dean Janklow, for their many acts of kindness and generosity, including paying off a farm mortgage and offering other people financial assistance and help in many ways.

He said while Bill Janklow never attended church unless it was a funeral, he showed his faith in many ways.

Russ Janklow said he spoke about faith a few times with his father and asked him what his beliefs were. He said Bill Janklow said Jesus Christ must have been a significant figure since people were still talking about and worshipping him 2,000 years after his death.

He also told his son he believed in the afterlife, because if you didn't, you'd "be in the same boat" when you died anyway.

Janklow's father Arthur was Jewish, and two of Janklow's brothers adhere to that faith. One of the brothers is a member of the same synagogue that Adelstein leads.

Arthur Janklow, who helped prosecute Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials after World War II, died when Bill Janklow was 11.

Janklow's mother Lou Ella Nace, who will turn 98 in a few days, still lives in Flandreau.

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