Authorities identify the 11 victims in Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooting
Eleven lives abruptly ended on Saturday when a gunman stormed the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh’s historic Squirrel Hill neighborhood.
On Sunday, Karl Williams, Allegheny County’s chief medical examiner, released the victims’ identities in a news conference.
Among those killed were a pair of brothers and a married couple. The oldest was 97 years old, and the youngest 54.
“To the victims’ families, to the victims’ friends, we’re here as a community of one for you,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. “We will be here to help you through this horrific episode. We’ll get through this darkest day of Pittsburgh’s history by working together.”
Here are the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting:
Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, came from Edgewood Borough, Pennsylvania, and was a primary care physician in the area for many years, some of his patients told CNN.
His nephew, Avishai Ostrin, shared a photo on Facebook of his uncle, who he said always wore a bowtie that “made people smile” and “made his patients more at ease.”
“You know how they say there are people who just lighten up a room? You know that cliche about people whose laugh is infectious? That was Uncle Jerry,” he wrote. “It wasn’t a cliche. It was just his personality.”
Ostrin said if there was a message his uncle would want everyone to take from the tragedy, “it would be a message of love, unity, and of the strength and resilience of the Jewish people.”
Susan Blackman knew Rabinowitz for at least 35 years. He was her family doctor and cared for her three children. She went to see Rabinowitz every quarter.
“He was like a member of the family, and a member of the extended family,” she said. “Like somebody you know that’s always part of your community. … Dr. Jerry was just somebody who, when you see him, your eyes light up.”
“I can’t imagine the world without him,” she said.
Brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal
Cecil and David Rosenthal, 59 and 54, were from Squirrel Hill.
According to their obituaries posted by the Ralph Schugar Chapel, Cecil was a devoted Tree of Life congregant. David worked for Goodwill Industries, and was a hard worker who was recognized for his commitment a number of times.
ACHIEVA, a Pittsburgh nonprofit that provides support for people with disabilities, posted a statement about the Rosenthal brothers, calling them “two well-respected members of our community’ and “extraordinary men.”
“Cecil’s laugh was infectious. David was so kind and had such a gentle spirit. Together, they looked out for one another,” said Chris Schopf, a vice president for residential support at ACHIEVA. “They were inseparable. Most of all, they were kind, good people with a strong faith and respect for everyone around.”
The brothers always sat in the back of the temple and greeted people as they came in to worship, according to Suzan Hauptman, who said she grew up at Tree of Life synagogue.
“They were like the ambassadors because they were always there,” she said. “And they will always be there in our hearts.”
Laura Berman, the cantor of Temple Sinai, said Cecil was a “beautiful man” and a “sweet, gentle soul.”
“The kindest soul you would ever meet,” she said. “A smiling face. He was one of those embodiments of the community. Just open, warm, smiling, wanting to help and just in his beautiful simplicity. That’s who he was.”
Rose Mallinger, a 97-year-old from Squirrel Hill, was the “sweetest, lovely lady,” said Friedman, she said that Mallinger was a secretary in her school’s office growing up.
Mallinger regularly attended the synagogue with her daughter, Friedman said, and likely knew everyone there. She always offered a friendly greeting, a hug and a smile.
Despite her age, Mallinger was “spry” and “vibrant,” Friedman said.
“She had a lot of years left.”
Bernice and Sylvan Simon
The Simons, a married couple from Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, were “kind, generous and good-hearted individuals,” according to their neighbor, Jo Stepaniak.
She lived next to 84-year-old Bernice and 86-year-old Sylvan for nearly 40 years, she said, and they were the “sweetest people you could imagine.
“They wanted to give back to people and be kind,” Stepaniak said, adding that the Simons always tried to help out in their small neighborhood and in the Jewish community.
“They were loving and giving and kind,” she said, “gracious and dignified.”
The other victims were identified as:
• Joyce Fienberg, 75, of Oakland neighborhood, Pittsburgh
• Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township, Pennsylvania
• Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh
• Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh
• Irving Younger, 69, of Pittsburgh’s Mount Washington neighborhood
According to a release from the Allegheny Co. Executive’s Office, Cecil and David Rosenthal were brothers. Bernice and Sylvan Simon were married, according to the same release.