Married Couple, Brothers Among Those Slaughtered in Pittsburgh Mass Shooting
Responding officers found the bodies of victims in three locations inside the Tree of Life synagogue.
PITTSBURGH—An elderly married couple, two brothers, and a 97-year-old woman were among the 11 people gunned down while attending services at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday morning.
The list of the eight men and three women killed in the attack was released by the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office on Sunday morning, revealing that the youngest victim was 54 and the eldest was 97.
Wendell Hissrich, Pittsburgh public safety director, said notifications were made to the victims’ families on Saturday night.
“I was there last night and witnessed the notifications being made to the families. It is a very difficult time for the families,” Hissrich said Sunday.
These are the victims of what is being called the deadliest attack ever on Jews in the U.S.:
Bernice Simon, 84, and Sylvan Simon, 86
They were married there and they died there.
The Simons exchanged vows in 1956 at the Squirrel Hill synagogue and their union lasted for more than 60 years.
“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 Tribune-Review. “They were really generous and nice to everybody. It’s just horrific.”
Another neighbor, Michael Stepaniak, called them a “loving couple.”
“I hope they didn’t suffer much and I miss them terribly,” he said.
Cecil Rosenthal, 59, and David Rosenthal, 54
The Rosenthal brothers lived in supported housing run by ACHIEVA, where they were known for their “love for life and for those around them,” the group’s vice president, Chris Schopf, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“They spent a lot of time at the Tree of Life, never missing a Saturday,” she said. “If they were here they would tell you that is where they were supposed to be.”
The brothers, whose parents live in Florida, were inseparable.
“When it came time to take the Torahs out, Cecil always stepped forward to carry it, and David was right behind him. The rabbis knew: You’ve got to give them a Torah to carry,” said Barton Schachter, a past president of Tree of Life.
Daniel Stein, 71
Daniel Stein’s son, Joe, posted a tribute to his father on Facebook on Sunday.
“Yesterday was the worst day of my life! My dads [sic] life was taken at the Tree of Life shooting. My mom, sister and I are absolutely devastated and crushed!” Joe Stein wrote.
“My dad was a simple man and did not require much,” he continued. “In the picture below 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!”
Melvin Wax, 88
A retired accountant, Wax was leading shabbat services when the gunman barged in.
Longtime friend Barbara Kart told The Daily Beast that Wax’s wife had passed away two years ago and “his whole life was his religion.”
“He looked forward to the Saturday service and he got there before the rabbi,” Kart said. “He had hearing loss and he may not have responded as quickly as others.”
Joyce Fienberg, 75
Joyce Fienberg, a research assistant at the University of Pittsburgh, is said to have visited Tree of Life every morning since her husband died recently. A friend who asked to remain anonymous told The Daily Beast that Fienberg was “a beautiful human being, kind and gentle.”
“She went to pray one morning and never came back,” she said, adding that Fienberg leaves behind two sons.
Richard Gottfried, 65
Gottfried’s brother-in-law, Don Salvin, told The Daily Beast he was an “outgoing, gregarious fellow,” a dentist who volunteered his services to refugees through Catholic Charities.
“It’s a very tight-knit family. He was very devoted to his family and his faith,” Salvin said. “He was very devoted to that synagogue. He was there every Saturday, sometimes Sundays as well. He was one of the more active members in that synagogue.”
Gottfried and his wife, Peggy, just celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary and went to a resort to celebrate it. He was a wine lover and an avid golfer, Salvin said.
“He was very outgoing, very kind.”
Rose Mallinger, 97
Mallinger was nearly always the first person to enter Tree of Life—with her sister, until she died a few years ago, and more recently with her daughter.
“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,” former rabbi Chuck Diamond told The Washington Post.
Diamond said Mallinger was one of the first people he worried about when he got the news about the shooting. Her daughter was wounded in the gunfire but survived.
“I feel a part of me died in that building,” he said.
Jerry Rabinowitz, 66
Rabinowitz was an old-fashioned geriatrician who “loved his patients,” said Anna Boswell-Levy, a rabbi at a congregation in Yardley who was good friends with the doctor and his wife.
“He was really annoyed by electronic medical records and kept saying he was going to retire because he couldn’t take it anymore, but he kept on,” she told The Daily Beast.
The couple didn’t have any kids. “They had cats instead,” she said. “They poured their hearts into their home, and their cats, and their community of friends, and their synagogue.”
Rabinowitz attended Dor Hadash, one of the three congregations in the building, and had served as president at one time.
“He was a friend, a friend to many people,” Boswell-Levy said. ”He and his wife, Mari—they were the welcoming committee. They were gracious. They were kind. They were always upbeat and warm, and they weren’t pretentious—they just were real with you.”
Rabinowitz treated former prosecutor Law Claus and his family for years.
“Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz was more than just a physician for me and my family,” Claus said. “For over three decades he was truly a trusted confidant and healer who could always be counted upon to provide sage advice whenever he was consulted on medical matters, usually providing that advice with a touch of genuine humor.”
Irving Younger, 69
A retired real-estate agent, Younger doted on his daughter and grandchild and served as an usher at the synagogue.
“He never missed a day,” Tina Prizner, a neighbor, told the Tribune-Review.
His faith and his family were twin passions, she said.
“He talked about his daughter and his grandson, always, and he never had an unkind word to say about anybody,” she said. “He was a beautiful person, a beautiful soul.”