Pittsburgh Jewish community mourns victims

Courtesy: Tim Lawson/KDKA
Courtesy: Tim Lawson/KDKA(KOLNKGIN)
Published: Oct. 27, 2018 at 10:07 AM CDT
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A law enforcement official says the man accused of killing 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue had a license to carry firearms and legally owned his guns.

The official wasn't authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke Sunday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Police say Robert Bowers killed eight men and three women in the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday before a tactical police team tracked him down and shot him.

The victims ranged in age from 54 to 97 and included brothers and a husband and wife.

The 11 victims that were killed in the shooting were identified as:

  • Joyce Fienburg, 75, of Oakland
  • Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township
  • Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill
  • Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood
  • Cecil Rosenthal, 59, of Squirrel Hill
  • David Rosenthal, 54, of Squirrel Hill
  • Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg
  • Sylvan Simon, 86, of Wilkinsburg
  • Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill
  • Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill
  • Irving Younger, 69, of Mt. Washington

Court papers say Bowers made statements about genocide and killing Jewish people.

Federal prosecutors have charged Bowers with 29 criminal offenses and state authorities have also leveled charges. Bowers is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday.


4:25 p.m.

Two brothers killed in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting were an inseparable, warm-hearted pair who never missed Saturday services.

That's according to ACHIEVA, an organization that provides services to people with disabilities and had worked with Cecil and David Rosenthal for years.

ACHIEVA Vice President Chris Schopf recalls 59-year-old Cecil's infectious laugh and 54-year-old David's gentle spirit. Schopf says the two "looked out for one another" and were "kind, good people with a strong faith and respect for everyone around."

Their sister is chief of staff to state Rep. Dan Frankel, who recalls seeing the brothers at Tree of Life whenever he went there.

He calls them "very sweet, gentle, caring men."


4:05 p.m.

Richard Gottfried was a devoted member of the New Light Congregation, going to the synagogue every Saturday morning without fail.

He was killed Saturday as a gunman opened fire inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Stephen Cohen, the co-president of New Light, says Gottfried and another member who was also killed Saturday were the "religious heart of our congregation."

"They led the service, they maintained the Torah, they did what needed to be done with the rabbi to make services happen," Cohen said.

The 65-year-old Gottfried was also preparing for a new chapter in his life. The dentist, who often did charity work seeing patients who could not afford dental care normally, was preparing to retire in the next few months.

Gottfried ran a dental office with his wife, Peg Durachko.


3:30 p.m.

Israel's president is sending a message of solidarity after the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, saying Israel stands with the Jewish victims and the Pittsburgh community.

In a videotaped message set to open an interfaith vigil Sunday, President Reuven Rivlin will tell participants: "You are not alone! The people of Israel and the entire Jewish people stand with you!" That's according to a transcript of the message provided by his office.

"We must say loud and clear -- this was an act of anti-semitism," Rivlin says, according to the transcript. "We cannot, we must not, we will not ignore it or tolerate it."

Rivlin, who acts in a mostly ceremonial capacity, will conclude his message of consolation by reciting the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead.


2 p.m.

Daniel Stein, who was among the 11 people shot dead inside Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue Saturday, was a very visible member of the city's Jewish community as a leader in the New Light Congregation.

The co-president of the area's Hadassah chapter, Nancy Shuman, says Judaism was very important to the 71-year-old Stein. His wife, Sharyn, is the chapter's membership vice president.

Shuman says, "Both of them were very passionate about the community and Israel."

Stein's nephew Steven Halle told the Tribune-Review that his uncle "was always willing to help anybody."

Halle says Stein "was somebody that everybody liked."


1:45 p.m.

Joyce Fienberg and her late husband, Stephen, were intellectual powerhouses, but those who knew them say they were the kind of people who used that intellect to help others.

Joyce Fienberg was among the 11 victims of a gunman who opened fire inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday.

The 74-year-old spent most of her career at the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Research and Development Center. She retired in 2008 from her job as a researcher looking at learning in the classroom and in museums. She worked on several projects, including studying the practices of highly effective teachers.

Dr. Gaea Leinhardt, who was Fienberg's research partner for decades, says she is devastated by the murder of her colleague and friend.

Leinhardt says, "Joyce was a magnificent, generous, caring, and profoundly thoughtful human being."

1:30 p.m.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns have observed a moment of silence at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field for the 11 people killed by a gunman inside a synagogue in the city Saturday.

There were other such tributes at NFL games elsewhere Sunday.

Eight men and three women were murdered inside the Tree of Life Synagogue. The names of the victims, which included a pair of brothers and a married couple, were released Sunday.

In a statement issued before Sunday's game, Steelers owner Art Rooney II said, "Our hearts are heavy, but we must stand against anti-Semitism and hate crimes of any nature and come together to preserve our values and our community."

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto called the slayings the "darkest day of Pittsburgh's history."


11:40 a.m.

Condolences and remembrances of the 11 victims of the deadly attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday are beginning to roll out on social media and in emails.

They were professors and accountants, dentists and beloved doctors.

Former Allegheny County Deputy District Attorney Law Claus sent an email to his former coworkers Sunday asking them to pass along his condolences to the family of Jerry Rabinowitz, a 66-year-old personal physician.

Claus says Rabinowitz was more than a physician for him and his family for the past three decades, saying, "he was truly a trusted confidant and healer."

He says Rabinowitz had an uplifting demeanor and would provide sage advice.