Pittsburgh synagogue shooting: What we know about the 11 victims

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Monday, October 29, 2018
Authorities name victims of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting
The group of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims included a pair of brothers and a husband and wife. The oldest victim killed in Tree of Life synagogue was 97.

PITTSBURGH -- Officials have released the names of all 11 victims killed in a shooting Saturday at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. The group includes a pair of brothers and a husband and wife. Here's what we know about the victims:

Joyce Fienberg, 75, of Oakland, Pittsburgh

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.

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

Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victim Richard Gottfried is seen in an undated photo provided by a friend.
Richard DeFilippo

Richard Gottfried was preparing for a new chapter in his life.

Gottfried ran a dental office with his wife and practice partner Margaret "Peg" Durachko Gottfried. The dentist, who several have noted often did charity work seeing patients who could not otherwise afford dental care, was preparing to retire in the next few months.

He, along with Wax and Stein, "led the service, they maintained the Torah, they did what needed to be done with the rabbi to make services happen," Cohen said

Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh

Rose Mallinger was a "fixture of the congregation," Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh CEO Brian Schreiber told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Schreiber said he regularly saw Mallinger at services and said he'd "never met a more vivacious 97-year-old."

Mallinger's daughter, 61-year-old Andrea Wedner, was among the wounded and is recovering in the hospital.

Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood Borough

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

Claus said 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 said Rabinowitz had an uplifting demeanor and would provide sage advice.

Cecil Rosenthal, 59, and David Rosenthal, 54, of Squirrel Hill

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victim Cecil Rosenthal is seen in an undated photo provided by David DeFelice.
David DeFelice

Brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal "had a love for life and those around them," according to ACHIEVA, a nonprofit organization that supports those with disabilities. ACHIEVA said the brothers were longtime recipients of the organization's services.

"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," ACHIEVA vice president Chris Schopf said in a statement.

Cecil carried a photo in his wallet of David, whom Schopf remembers as a man with "such a gentle spirit."

"Together, they looked out for each other," she said. "Most of all, they were kind, good people with a strong faith and respect for everyone around."

The two left an impression on state Rep. Dan Frankel, who sometimes attends services at Tree of Life and whose chief of staff is the Rosenthals' sister.

"They were very sweet, gentle, caring men," Frankel said. "... I know that this community will really mourn their loss because they were such special people."

Bernice Simon, 84, and Sylvan Simon, 86, of Wilkinsburg

Bernice and Sylvan Simon were killed at Tree of Life synagogue, the same place they were married in December 1956, according to local media reports.

"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 Abraham told TribLive. "They were really generous and nice to everybody. It's just horrific."

The Simons were fixtures in the townhome community on the outskirts of Pittsburgh where they had lived for decades. She'd served on the board, and he was a familiar face from his walks around the neighborhood, with the couple's dog in years past.

Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh

Daniel Stein 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."

"He was a fun guy. He had a dry sense of humor and everybody loved him. There wasn't one person that didn't like him in the community," a relative told WPXI-TV.

Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victim Melvin Wax is seen in an undated photo provided by family members.

Fellow members of the New Light Congregation, which rented space in the lower level of the Tree of Life Synagogue, said Wax was a kind man and a pillar of the congregation, filling just about every role except cantor.

Myron Snider spoke late Saturday about his friend who would stay late to tell jokes with him. He said "Mel," a retired accountant, was unfailingly generous.

"He was such a kind, kind person," said Snider, chairman of the congregation's cemetery committee. "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."

Irving Younger, 69, of Mt. Washington, Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victim Irving Younger is seen in an undated photo provided by a family friend.
Linda Mealy

A neighbor in Pittsburgh's Mount Washington neighborhood on Sunday remembered victim Irving Younger as "a really nice guy."

Jonathan Voye told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Younger, 69, was personable and occasionally spoke with him about family or the weather.

Tina Prizner, who told the Tribune-Review she's lived next door to Younger for several years, said he was a "wonderful" father and grandfather.

The one-time real estate company owner "talked about his daughter and his grandson, always, and he never had an unkind word to say about anybody,' Prizner told the Tribune-Review.

MORE: How to help the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims

Two other people in the synagogue, a man and woman, were wounded in the shooting and are currently stable. The survivors have been identified as 61-year-old Andrea Wedner (Rose Mallinger's daughter) and 70-year-old Daniel Leger.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.