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November 2, 2018  RSS feed
World News

Text: T T T

The 11 lives lost in Pittsburgh

Baruch Dayan ha’Emet
By JTA news service

Bernice Simon, 84, and Sylvan Simon, 86 Bernice Simon, 84, and Sylvan Simon, 86 Bernice Simon, 84, and Sylvan Simon, 86

The Simons were married at the Tree of Life Congregation in 1956 in a candlelight ceremony, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

“They held hands and they always smiled and he would open the door for her, all those things that you want from another person,” neighbor Heather Graham told the newspaper. “They were really generous and nice to everybody. It’s just horrific.”

Sylvan was a retired accountant. Bernice was a former nurse.

David Rosenthal, 54 (right) and Cecil Rosenthal, 59

The two brothers were very involved in the local Jewish community. “Neither man had one ounce of hate in their hearts,” read a tweet by a synagogue member. “I grieve for these men. They will be missed.”

David Rosenthal, 54 (right) and Cecil Rosenthal, 59 David Rosenthal, 54 (right) and Cecil Rosenthal, 59 The brothers lived in a community home run by ACHIEVA, which provides residential and employment services for adults with intellectual disabilities. They were roommates and often were the first faces that congregants saw as they arrived for services. “They loved life. They loved their community,” said Chris Schopf, vice president of Residential Supports at ACHIEVA. “They spent a lot of time at the Tree of Life, never missing a Saturday. If they were here, they would tell you that is where they were supposed to be.”

Daniel Stein, 71

Stein once served as president of the New Light Congregation, one of the three congregations that were housed in the synagogue building, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. He recently became a grandfather for the first time, according to local reports.

Daniel Stein, 71 Daniel Stein, 71 “He was always willing to help anybody,” said his nephew, Steven Halle. “He was somebody that everybody liked, very dry sense of humor and recently had a grandson who loved him.”

His wife, Sharyn, is the vice chair of membership of the local chapter of Hadassah.

Jerry Rabinowitz, 66

Rabinowitz was a physician and was involved in the Reconstructionist congregation, Dor Hadash, that met in the building, at one time serving as its president. “Jerry was one of the backbones of the congregation,” Laura Horowitz, a congregant, who wept when she read his name, told JTA. “He blows – he blew – the shofar on Yom Kippur.”

A former patient recalled that in the early days of the AIDS crisis, Rabinowitz was among a handful of doctors treating patients with dignity and respect. “Basically before there was effective treatment for fighting HIV itself, he was known in the community for keeping us alive the longest,” Michael Kerr recalled on Facebook. “He often held our hands (without rubber gloves) and always always hugged us as we left his office.”

Jerry Rabinowitz, 66 Jerry Rabinowitz, 66 Richard Gottfried, 65

A popular local dentist, Gottfried was active in New Light Congregation. The Tribune-Review reported that Richard and his wife, Margaret Durachko, volunteered with the Catholic Charities Free Dental Clinic.

Gottfried’s nephew honored his uncle in a tweet. “Today I lost an important person in my life,” Jacob Gottfried wrote. “My uncle was murdered doing what he loved, praying to G-D. I don’t want to live in a world where I must fear to live as a Jew. I thank everyone in BBYO for being so supportive and I hope this never happens again! #PittsburghStrong.”

Richard Gottfried, 65 Richard Gottfried, 65 Joyce Fienberg, 75

Fienberg was a native of Toronto, Canada, and lived in several American cities before settling in Pittsburgh, where her husband, Stephen, was professor emeritus at Carnegie Mellon University before his death in December 2016, Toronto City News reported. She retired in 2008 as a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center, which looks at learning in the classroom and in museums. Her daughter-in-law, Marney Fienberg, is co-president of Hadassah North Virginia.

Rose Mallinger, 97

Joyce Fienberg, 75 Joyce Fienberg, 75 Though news reports circulated that Rose Mallinger was a Holocaust survivor, a family friend tweeted that she was not. Mallinger’s great-niece told her friend that her aunt was “the most caring gentle loving woman.” The retired school secretary had children and three grandchildren. Her daughter, Andrea Wedner, 61, was among those wounded in the attack and is expected to recover, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

“She was a synagogue-goer, and not everybody is,” a former Tree of Life rabbi, Chuck Diamond, told The Washington Post. “She’s gone to the synagogue for a lifetime, no matter how many people are there. I feel a part of me died in that building.”

Melvin Wax, 88

Rose Mallinger, 97 Rose Mallinger, 97 Wax, a retired accountant and a grandfather, was described by fellow congregants as a “pillar” of the congregation, The Associated Press reported. He was a leader of Or Chadash, or New Light Congregation, which moved into the Tree of Life building a year ago after his congregation, made up mostly of older members, could no longer afford its own synagogue building. He reportedly was leading his congregation’s services at the time of the attack. Myron Snider, chairman of the congregation’s cemetery committee, described his friend as generous and kind. Snider said he and Wax shared mostly clean jokes at the end of each service.

Dennis Fishman, whose parents were friends with Wax, described him as empathetic and attentive. “He was a quiet man, not very assertive but always there, often smiling,” Fishman said. “He had a real light-up-the-room kind of smile, with an eye that let you know he was paying attention to what made you happy and made you sad.”

Melvin Wax, 88 Melvin Wax, 88 Irving Younger, 69

Younger was a father and grandfather who had recently undergone surgery, his neighbor told the Post-Gazette. “He was a really nice guy,” Jonathan Voye told the newspaper.

The Tribune-Review reported that Younger once owned a small business and was a youth baseball coach.

Irving Younger, 69 Irving Younger, 69

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