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USA: Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre

Sunday 28 October 2018, by siawi3

Source: The Canadian Council of Muslim Women, 28.10.18

Sadness Over Pittsburgh Synagogue Massacre

Canadians of all faiths are deeply saddened by the loss of life and injuries sustained in the massacre of congregants of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Our sincere sympathies to the families of the deceased and prayers for a full recovery for those injured. We extend our condolences and support to Jewish communities in Pittsburgh and to all American and fellow Canadians of the Jewish faith.

This abhorrent act of violence reminds us that anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and xenophobia can manifest itself in our sanctuaries and places of worship. We must come together and be steadfast in our resolve to stop the hate and seek peace in all our communities.

The Canadian Council of Muslim Women



A 97-year-old, an elderly wife and husband: These are the 11 victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre

Marco della Cava and Elizabeth Weise USA TODAY

Published 2:17 PM EDT Oct 28, 2018

Mourners gather in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh for a vigil.
SARA C. TOBIAS, Newark Advocate via USA TODAY Network

The Jewish congregants were there to celebrate life, but were met by death. Most never had a chance.

Just before 10 a.m. Saturday, suspected gunman Robert Bowers, 46, burst into the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh and, yelling “All Jews must die,” killed 11 before himself being wounded and taken into custody.

The list of those killed Saturday included middle-aged brothers, an elderly husband and wife and a grandmother nearing 100. All were cherished members of a tight-knit Jewish community with deep roots in Pittsburgh history.

Many of them had gathered for a naming ceremony, which marks the beginning of a baby’s journey in the Jewish faith. Others arrived on this traditionally holy day, the sabbath, simply to worship, study and pray.
People gather for a interfaith candlelight vigil a few blocks away from the site of a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh.
JEFF SWENSEN, Getty Images

On Sunday, Pittsburgh chief medical examiner Karl Williams read the names of the dead. “The families are in shock and grieving, please be respectful of their needs, their time and space as they deal with this tragedy,” he said.

Those killed 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.

’Infectious’ laugh and gentle spirit

The Rosenthal brothers, Cecil and David, were long-time members of the Tree of Life synagogue, according to J.E. Reich, who grew up in the neighborhood the brothers called home.

Reich said the brothers were developmentally disabled and lived together. The two had Fragile X syndrome, a genetic disorder that often results in mild to moderate intellectual disability.

Cecil Rosenthal loved to greet people at the door of the synagogue before services “not out of obligation, but out of joy,” said Reich, a reporter who has written for online websites such as Jezebel and who goes by the gender pronoun “they.” They added that their stepfather worshiped with the brothers.

Reich tweeted that due to the ongoing police investigation, which has involved cordoning off part of the cemetery at Tree of Life, all burials may be delayed.

“This is heartbreaking: the map for the cemetery plots where the victims will be interred is still in Tree of Life Synagogue—still cordoned off as a crime scene—which might delay their burials,” Reich wrote. “Synagogue admin is hoping that an FBI agent will be able to get the plot plan for them.”

Achieva, an area organization that helps the developmentally disabled, put out a statement Sunday that said both brothers had a deep love of community and life.

“If they were here, they would tell you that is where they were supposed to be,” said Chris Schopf, Achieva’s vice president of residential supports.

“Cecil’s laugh was infectious,“Schopf added.”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.”

Stein, 71, was a member of the New Light Congregation, a conservative Jewish congregation that was one of three who shared space at the synagogue. A new grandfather, he attended services every Saturday and was an active supporter of the community, according to TribLive.

Feinberg was the wife of the late Stephen E. Feinberg, a professor of statistics and social science at Carnegie Mellon University, who died in 2016. They had two sons, Anthony Feinberg of Paris, and Howard Feinberg of Vienna, Virginia, and several grandchildren, according to her husband’s obituary.

Irving Younger, 69, and his wife Sherry, who died in 2007, had two children, Jordanna and Jared, according to her obituary, which ran in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Some reacted strongly on Twitter to the ages of the deceased.

“Way to rid the world of the scourge of people’s grandparents and great grandparents, you monster,” wrote musician E Marlowe, including a link to the list of those killed.

In addition to the 11 dead, six people were injured.

More: What we know now: 11 killed in Pittsburgh synagogue massacre; Robert Bowers charged

More: Synagogues around the nation strengthen security following Pittsburgh shooting

According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, they were a 61-year-old woman, a 55-year-old man, and a 27-year-old male police officer and a 40-year-old male SWAT officer. Another police officer was treated and released.

Paul Leger, 70, suffered gunshot sounds to his torso in the attack and underwent surgery at the UPMC Presbyterian hospital Saturday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
A Stronger Than Hate graphic used to replace their profiles by friends, family and supporters of the victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Leger was a retired nurse and has worked as a chaplain at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center since 2016.

Leger had been scheduled to lead a Saturday morning service at the synagogue, where he was a member of the Dor Hadash congregation, a progressive Reconstructionist Jewish community, according to the Tribune-Review.

Family members, friends and members of the synagogue began replacing their Facebook profile photos with a Stronger Than Hate graphic, a play on the Pittsburgh Steelers football team logo in which the top-most of three four-pointed stars is replaced by the six-pointed Star of David.
Map locates the Tree of Life Synagogue near Pittsburgh, Pa. where a shooting took place.
Frank Pompa, USA TODAY

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto described Saturday’s shooting as the “darkest day in Pittsburgh’s history.”

Jeff Finkelstein, CEO of Pittsburgh’s Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, said Sunday that "it’s real once you hear the names. (But) we’ll be there to help our Jewish community and the Pittsburgh region heal from this.”

The U.S. attorney’s office Saturday filed 29 charges against Bowers, whose online presence, while previously unknown to authorities, displayed extreme prejudice against those of the Jewish faith.

The charges include 11 counts of obstructing the exercising of religious beliefs resulting in death; 11 counts of using a firearm to commit murder during a crime of violence; four counts of obstructing the exercising of religious beliefs resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer, and three counts of using and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.

Bowers remains hospitalized in stable condition with several gunshot wounds, officials said Sunday.

In July, Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers wrote a blog post for his congregation lamenting the escalation of gun violence across the country.
Police outside and a disaster response team outside the Tree of Life Congregation in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
Jeffrey Becker, USA TODAY Sports

“Despite continuous calls for sensible gun control and mental health care, our elected leaders in Washington knew that it would fade away in time,” Myers wrote in a post titled We Deserve Better, which also referenced the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“Unless there is a dramatic turnaround in the mid-term elections, I fear that that the status quo will remain unchanged, and school shootings will resume, Myers wrote.”I shouldn’t have to include in my daily morning prayers that God should watch over my wife and daughter, both teachers, and keep them safe. Where are our leaders?"

Contributing: Candy Woodall, York Daily Record