The victims of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting

They were well loved regulars at the shul who died where they worshiped


The 11 victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting were regular attendees and well loved community members. They included a 97-year-old woman, a husband and wife and two brothers.

Daniel Stein, 71, was described as family man and had recently become a grandfather.

Mr Stein’s son, Joe, described his death as "the worst day of my life."

"My mom, sister and I are absolutely devastated and crushed! Our lives now are going to have to take a different path, one that we thought would not happen for a long time," he wrote as he shared a photo on Facebook of his father playing with his new grandson.

“My dad was a simple man and did not require much... He was having a great day doing two things he loved very much. He had just finished coming from synagogue, which he loved, and then got to play with his grandson which he loved even more!”

Mr Stein, who was president of Tree of Life’s Men’s Club, was killed in the same room that his grandson’s bris was held earlier this year.

His nephew Halle told CNN: "He was a great guy. He was a fun guy, he had a dry sense of humor and everybody loved him."

Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, was a doctor from Edgewood Borough, Pennsylvania.

His nephew, Avishai Ostrin wrote: "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.

Mr Ostrin said his uncle would want people to take a message “of love, unity, and of the strength and resilience of the Jewish people," away from the tragedy.

Dr Rabinowitz’s patients also paid tribute to their doctor.

Daniel Berczik of Highland Park, knew Dr Rabinowitz for 20 years, he told TribLive.

“He started out as a doctor, but he became someone I could just talk to. “I can’t imagine what his last moments must of been like. He was one of the kindest, most loving people I ever met.”

The doctor had been Susan Blackman’s family doctor for 35 years.

She told CNN: "He was like a member of the family, and a member of the extended family, 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 Rosenthal, 59, and David Rosenthal, 54, hardly ever missed a service.

The brothers from Squirrel Hill were regulars at the Tree of Life synagogue and often sat at the back and greeted people as they came in.

Shul member Suzan Hauptman told CNN: "They were like the ambassadors because they were always there. And they will always be there in our hearts."

Laura Berman, the cantor of Temple Sinai, paid tribute to Cecil.

She said he was “the kindest soul you would ever meet. A smiling face. He was one of those embodiments of the community.”

She said he was always “open, warm, smiling, wanting to help.”

The brothers were supported by ACHIEVA, a Pittsburgh organisation that provides support for people with disabilities.

Chris Schopf, a vice president for residential support at the organisation said the “ACHIEVA family is devastated at the loss of two well-respected members of their community.

“Two extraordinary men, brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal, were victims of the tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue.

 "Cecil's laugh was infectious. David was so kind and had such a gentle spirit. Together, they looked out for one another,.

"They were inseparable. Most of all, they were kind, good people with a strong faith and respect for everyone around."

Rose Mallinger, 97, from Squirrel Hill was the oldest victim of the attack.

Robin Friedman, told CNN that Mrs Mallinger was a secretary in her school's office growing up, and was the "sweetest, lovely lady.”

Mrs Mallinger regularly attended the shul with her daughter and often greeted people with a hug and a smile.

Chuck Diamond, a former rabbi at Tree Of Life, said she would never miss a service.

Mr Diamond told the Washington Post: “She was a synagogue-goer, and not everybody is. She’s gone to the synagogue for a lifetime, no matter how many people are there.

Elisa Schwartz, a relative of Mrs Mallinger paid tribute to her on Facebook.

She called on people to donate blood to help survivors and described her as "one of the matriarchs of the family."

Bernice and Sylvan Simon were married and died at the Tree of Life synagogue.

The couple’s wedding announcement was recorded in 1956 in the Pittsburgh Press.

It said: “Tree of Life Synagogue was the wedding scene of Bernice Ruth Rothenberg and Sylvan Simon. They were married Saturday in a candlelight ceremony.”

A neighbour of the couple, who lived in Squirrel Hill, told TribLive :“They held hands and they always smiled and he would open the door for her, all those things that you want from another person.

“They were really generous and nice to everybody. It’s just horrific.”

Jo Stepaniak lived next to 84-year-old Bernice and 86-year-old Sylvan for nearly 40 years.

She said: "They wanted to give back to people and be kind... They were loving and giving and kind."

Joyce Fienberg, 75, was a former research specialist at the Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

The center paid tribute to her on its Facebook page describing her as a a "cherished friend" and "an engaging, elegant, and warm person."

Mrs Fienberg, who was a grandmother, and had two sons, was popular with her husband Stephen’s PhD students.

Jason Connor, a former student of Mr Fienberg, who died two years ago told CNN the couple treated him like family.

"Everyone says this, but she really was an enormously caring person. She was a very petite woman but lit up a room with her huge personality. We weren't just welcome in the classroom, but into their home."

Richard Gottfried, 65, was a regular attendee at the synagogue and ran a successful dental practice with his wife, Peg Durachko.

Mr Gottfried, who is Jewish and his wife, Peg, a practising Catholic, married in 1980.

The couple shared a sense of charity and volunteered at dental clinics for the needy.

They also offered counciling to married couples at St. Athanasius Parish, a Catholic Church near where they lived.

According to the Washington Post ,the couple had just celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary and had planned to retire soon.

Mr Gottfried was said to be growing closer to his faith and had been attending shul services more often.

Don Salvin, Gottfried’s brother-in-law said: “He died doing what he liked to do most.”

Irving Younger, 69, was a proud grandfather, who gave out prayer books at the shul.

Chuck Diamond, a former rabbi at Tree of Life, told the Washington Post that Mr Younger would have been sitting in the back and giving people prayer books, when the gunman arrived.

Mr Diamond, 63, said he and Mr Younger would often share jokes with each other about other Jews making fun of themselves.

They liked to talk about sports and politics, often disagreeing with each other.

Mr Diamond said he had seen Mr Younger last week, when Mr Younger was proudly showing off  pictures of his newborn grandchild.

Toby Neufeld, who taught at the synagogue's religious school, said: “He had two grandchildren in California he adored. He constantly showed us pictures of the kids and what they were doing.”

Melvin Wax, 88, a retired accountant, was a regular at the Tree of Life synagogue according to fellow member Myron Snider.

She told Associated Press: “He went Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, when there were Sunday services.

“If somebody didn’t come that was supposed to lead services, he could lead the services and do everything.

“He knew how to do everything at the synagogue. He was really a very learned person.”

Mrs Snider said she would remember Mr Wax for his thoughtfulness and generosity.

“He was such a kind, kind person. When my daughters were younger, they would go to him, and he would help them with their federal income tax every year. Never charged them.”

Ellen Gunnell, 71, told the Washington Post: “We would always stop and say hi to each other.”

She said he would walk “with a spring to his step” and “always had a “smile on his face.”

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