The people who were killed in the appalling massacre in Pittsburgh on Shabbat were Daniel Stein, 71; Joyce Feinberg, 75; Richard Gottfried, 65; Rose Mallinger, 97; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; brothers Cecil Rosenthal, 59, and David Rosenthal 54; husband and wife Bernice Simon, 84 and Sylvan Simon, 86; Melvin Wax, 88; and Irving Younger, 69.
Two of the victims, the Rosenthal brothers were longstanding members of the Tree of Life Synagogue. They both suffered from Fragile X syndrome which is a genetic disorder often causing mild to moderate intellectual incapacity. Achieva, a regional establishment aiding those with special needs, issued a statement on Sunday stating that both brothers shared a genuine love for their community.
“If they were here, they would tell you that is where they were supposed to be,” declared Chris Schopf, Achieva’s vice president of residential supports.
“Cecil’s laugh was infectious,” Schopf said. “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.”
Another victim, Jerry Rabinowitz, practised as a family doctor in Pittsburgh. Mark Sarver, who met Rabinowitz in school and later became his best friend, said that even as a child, “he was studious but brilliant. He was earnest but fun-loving. He just had this basic goodness about him.”
Rabinowitz was well-known for his trademark bowties which never failed to make people smile. Moreover, patients appreciated his compassion and his good bedside manner.
“He was extremely caring (and) would always put everyone else’s needs before his own,” explained his nephew, Avishai Ostrin. “It was always about everyone else.”
Susan Blackman, a patient of Dr Rabinowitz for approximately thirty-five years, said poignantly, “Doctor Jerry was just somebody who, when you saw him, your eyes lit up. I can’t imagine the world without him.”
A fourth casualty of the massacre, Joyce Fienberg, formerly worked as a research specialist at the Learning Research and Development Centre of the University of Pittsburgh. On the centre’s Facebook page, Mrs Fienberg was referred to as a “cherished friend” and “an engaging, elegant, and warm person.”
Fienberg’s husband, Stephen, a prestigious statistician, died two years ago, after suffering from cancer. Jason Connor, one of Stephen’s former Ph.D. students at Carnegie Mellon University, said that the Fienbergs always treated Stephen’s students as if they were members of their own family. Joyce Fienberg would persist in sending them cards even when they were no longer students of her husband.
“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,” Connor stated.
A former colleague, Gaea Leinhardt, said “She never forgot anyone’s birthday. She was always available for whatever one might need.”
Ivanka Trump has issued a message of sympathy for the victims’ family and friends. She tweeted, “G-d bless those affected.”