יתגדל ויתקדש שמה רבא

'Magnified and Sanctified Be Your Name'

THE FIRST WORDS OF THE JEWISH MOURNERS' PRAYER

The Tree of Life mass shooting wrought death and anguish, but also fierce resolve

Unbroken

BY SHELLY BRADBURY

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE

THIS PRESENTATION HAS SOUND

Brothers David and Cecil Rosenthal (Courtesy CNN)

Augie Siriano sat down for tea with Cecil and David Rosenthal in the lobby of the Tree of Life Synagogue before last Saturday morning’s services.

This was a weekly ritual, the longtime building janitor taking tea with two longtime congregants, men he considered brothers, in a place they all loved.

Sometimes, David was there waiting when Mr. Siriano arrived to unlock the synagogue doors, and they’d turn on the lights together before the brothers went to services and Mr. Siriano prepared a meal for everyone to share afterward.

For 20 years, Mr. Siriano shared Saturday mornings with the brothers.

But this morning would be the last.

Gab post

Robert Bowers’ final post on social media before the shootings. (Courtesy archive.org)

Robert Bowers parked his car in a handicapped space in front of Tree of Life synagogue.

He’d spent the morning posting furious anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on his social media accounts, conspiracies long popular among white nationalists and neo-Nazis.

The Jews are committing genocide on whites.

The Jews control President Donald Trump.

The Baldwin Borough resident and long-haul truck driver had with him a Colt AR-15 assault rifle and three .357 Glock handguns.

At about 9:50 a.m., he gathered his weapons, walked into the synagogue and started shooting.

In the basement of the synagogue, New Light Congregation’s Saturday morning regulars, including Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, Barry Werber, Melvin Wax and Carol Black, mingled in their sanctuary as services began around 9:45 a.m., expecting others to show up later and join in.

Ms. Black’s brother, Richard Gottfried, head of the Men’s Club, was in the kitchen down the hall with Daniel Stein, head of the congregation’s religious committee, likely checking the refrigerator and planning for an upcoming Men’s Club breakfast on Sunday.

In the sanctuary, Mr. Wax began to lead services.

But then, a crash.

Mr. Werber stepped up to the sanctuary door and pushed it open. He saw a body on the steps, and realized the crash must have been a gunshot.

Rabbi Perlman pushed Mr. Werber, Mr. Wax and Ms. Black away from the door, back into a storeroom. They hid in the dark.

Mr. Siriano heard the crash too, and then a pop-pop-pop-pop as he left the men’s room. As he moved down a hallway toward the chapel, the gunfire grew louder, and then he saw a man lying in the doorway of the chapel, bleeding from his head. He knew he needed to get out.

Upstairs in the Pervin Chapel with the Tree of Life Congregation, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers heard a crash in the lobby, but thought a stainless steel coat rack had collapsed, perhaps after a member had grabbed onto it for balance.

Then he saw members of the Dor Hadash congregation running down the stairs.

"I just had an instinct, this is not good,” Rabbi Myers said after a vigil Sunday night. He’d just gone through active shooter training at the synagogue in September; it prompted him to begin carrying a cell phone during Shabbat services.

When he heard the shots, he took action.

"I took the people who were closer to the front of the congregation to the front to try to find some egress. I regret that I couldn’t do anything more for the people who were in there,” he said.

Rabbi Myers paused with Audrey Glickman, E. Joseph Charny and David Rosenthal in a room off the front of the sanctuary. Ms. Glickman tried to explain to Mr. Rosenthal that they needed be quiet, told him they had to hide, but David, who had a developmental disability and lived in a nearby group home, did not grasp the danger.

He ran back into the sanctuary, shouting he wanted to call his house.

“That’s what he did when he was uncertain or afraid,” Ms. Glickman said.

In the sanctuary, Bernice Simon, shouted that her husband, Sylvan Simon, was bleeding, he’d been shot in the back and they needed help. Ms. Glickman looked to see if she could help, but there was nothing she could do.

“We couldn’t help Bernice,” Ms. Glickman said. “All we could do is hope she found somewhere to hide.”

Shot after shot after shot rang out in the holy place.

Downstairs in the store room, Mr. Werber called 911.

Michele Kalinsky, three months into her job as a 911 call taker, picked up.

“He couldn’t talk very loud,“ she said. “He was fearful and I wanted to reassure him that he was not alone because I was there — and I felt with him.”

Upstairs, Rabbi Myers tried to return for the congregants he’d left in the chapel: Joyce Fienberg, Rose Mallinger and her daughter Andrea Wedner, David's brother Cecil Rosenthal, the Simons, and Irving Younger.

The shooter got there first.

“I heard him execute my congregants,” Rabbi Myers said.

Rabbi Myers called 911 from a choir loft with that cell phone he’d just begun to carry.

Active shooter. Tree of Life synagogue.

9:54 A.M.

911 call taker Bruce Carlton picked up the call when congregants trapped inside Tree of Life dialed 911 during the assault. (Lake Fong/Post-Gazette)

911 call taker Bruce Carlton could sense the urgency in Rabbi Myers’ voice and in his labored breathing, but the rabbi identified himself fully and clearly described the situation, saying he heard 20 to 30 shots in the lobby and that he didn’t see the gunman.

Mr. Carlton recommended that the rabbi find a more secure place, which he did, moving to a bathroom, Mr. Carlton said.

“After that, there was really no talking, because we could hear movement in the hallway, movement coming up the stairs. I told him best to stay silent.

“Occasionally, I would ask him if he was still with me,” Mr. Carlton recalled. “I would get a quiet whisper, ‘yes.’

“He would tell me, ‘I’m hearing additional shots.’ A volley here. A volley there, which I was documenting the whole time,” Mr. Carlton said.

The lock on the bathroom didn’t work, so Rabbi Myers held the door with all his might.

There are several people hiding.

9:57 A.M.

(Andrew Stein/Post-Gazette)

Ms. Glickman and Dr. Charny found an office on the third floor filled with boxes and black trash bags of clothes. They sank down amid the jumble and tried to blend in, crouched with their backs to the door, prayer shawls draped over their bodies.

In the basement closet, Mr. Werber and the others heard a pause in the gunfire. Mr. Wax opened the sanctuary door. He was shot and fell back by the storeroom where Mr. Werber and Ms. Black hid. A moment later, the gunman stepped into the room.

“I’m pressed up against the wall, Carol is kneeling on the floor to my right, and the gentleman walks in with a long gun,” Mr. Werber said. “I could see the jacket he was wearing and a pair of pants. ... He didn’t see us; thank God.”

The shooter walked away.

Mr. Wax died.

Mr. Gottfried and Mr. Stein died.

Mr. Younger, Ms. Fienberg and Ms. Mallinger died.

The Rosenthal brothers died. The Simons, too.

Jerry Rabinowitz died.

Death and horror.

Three killed in the basement.

Four killed in the chapel.

Four killed on the stairs.

There were 22 worshippers in the synagogue.

The attack killed half of them.

We're under fire!

10 A.M.

(KDKA Video)

Law enforcement officers secure the scene around the Tree of Life synagogue. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)

Zone 4 Pittsburgh police Officers Daniel Mead and Michael Smidga arrived at the synagogue, which sits just blocks from the zone police station, to find the shooter in the doorway.

He fired at the officers with the AR-15 rifle.

Officer Mead was hit in the hand. Officer Smidga was grazed or hit by shrapnel and cut on his face. At least one officer shot back, and Mr. Bowers retreated into the synagogue.

Mr. Siriano made it to an exit door and kicked it open. He encountered four or five police officers, one with blood running down his face. He got down on his knees and put his hands up, worried they’d mistake him for the shooter.

Another congregant who’d run from the building, Stephen Weiss, recognized him and called out to police, “That’s Augie!” Together they hurried away from the building.

Ms. Glickman and Dr. Charny made it out too, rushing to a side exit during a lull in the shooting. Police met them and helped them get away.

Officers took cover behind cars and called for reinforcements and paramedics. They set up a command post and a staging area, blocked streets and formed a perimeter. Small groups of officers — eight here, 10 there — formed and reported that they were ready to go in.

The shooter went quiet.

Police work the scene at The Tree of Life. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)

Officers and supervisors debated whether they should try again to go into the synagogue; they knew there were victims hiding inside but felt the shooter could pop up at any window and start firing at any time.

“There’s a police car with officers behind it, right on Wilkins,” one officer said. “Can you see them, and can we evac them? If they take fire it’s going to go right through their police car.”

“Yeah, I’m working on that right now,” another man responded. “I believe they thought there was a rescue to be made, but there is not on the front side, so they should retreat back.”

The officers behind the car used the vehicle as a shield and cautiously retreated.

They’d wait for SWAT.

As soon as he came into the lobby he opened fire.

10:19 A.M.

(Video by Ken Hardin)

'... Guns are drawn. They're looking for an active shooter.'

The first SWAT team entered the synagogue at about 10:29 a.m. and went room by room, searching for survivors and for the shooter. They called for patrol to meet hostages at the door as they were evacuated.

As SWAT teams moved closer to apprehend the gunman and rescue those inside, Rabbi Myers, still hidden in the bathroom, asked the 911 call taker at several points if he should emerge from hiding.

“I distinctly recall him asking me at least five or six times, ‘Should I open my door?’ I kept telling him, ‘No,’” Mr. Carlton said.

“Even when he heard the police, he asked me once or twice,” he said.

“I told him, ‘No. Police are in a heightened state. Guns are drawn. They’re looking for an active shooter,’” Mr. Carlton said.

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life Congregation is met by police as he flees the synagogue. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)

Finally, an officer discovered the rabbi, got him out of the building and sent him running across the street. He ended his 911 call; he’d been on the line with Mr. Carlton for 56 minutes.

Another SWAT officer found Mr. Werber and Ms. Black, escorted them up the steps and out of the building. They sat in the back of a police car, listening to the police radio as the officers carried on in the building.

“I can’t praise them enough,” Mr. Werber said. “They put their lives on the line. They kept us safe. They were very cordial and respectful. I mean, I was wearing a yarmulke, and they ran us down to the car so fast it flew off my head. One of the young officers was kind enough to find it and give it back to me.”

Three additional victims in the basement.

10:44 A.M.

Emergency personnel run toward the Tree of Life synagogue. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)

Pittsburgh tactical paramedic Eric Barazotto, 39, kept his firearm holstered as he entered the synagogue with four other paramedics, some who had their guns drawn.

"No one knew where this guy was, and there was a lot of area to cover,” Mr. Barazotto said. He stepped through the door and almost immediately encountered victims, five people down on the stairs to the left.

“We started triaging,” he said, “but pretty much we were just pronouncing people dead.”

Four dead.

But then, one man still alive.

Mr. Barazotto and his partner, tactical paramedic Justin Sypolt, 34, pulled the wounded man out of the building, took cover behind a brick wall, checked his injuries and carried him to an ambulance.

Then they ran back in.

Be advised, we're pushing up onto the third floor.

10:46 A.M.

'... When you make it personal, then it becomes real.'

Mr. Barazotto, part of the second team, climbed the stairs to the main level and walked into the Pervin Chapel, where Tree of Life Congregation met that morning. A man lay dead in the doorway, a woman dead between the pews.

He passed the victims, and he stayed focused on the job. It didn’t feel real.

Then he saw an elderly couple, together, both gone. In a split second, the horror of it all hit Mr. Barazotto.

“I’m married; I have children,” he said. “You care more about them than anything else in the world. To be with your best friend and suffer such a horrific event that was unnecessary — you’re out living your lives together, you’re partaking in something you feel is completely safe, and you both suffer a horrible tragedy ... that made it real; it was personal. When you make it personal, then it becomes real.”

While Mr. Barazotto was in the chapel, Mr. Sypolt discovered another survivor, a woman shot in the arm, and brought her outside. He loaded her into the SWAT team’s armored vehicle, which had just pulled up out front.

Firefighters talk to people arriving at Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)

Mr. Barazotto left the chapel and went back down the stairs to the area by the entrance. He met up with Mr. Sypolt, and together they descended the stairs into the basement, where New Light Congregation met.

There they found three more victims.

All were beyond help.

Mr. Barazotto left and climbed the stairs, passing the entrance level and the main level and then stopping on a sort of half-level, beside the synagogue’s nursery. The walls were covered with children’s drawings; a toy box sat on the floor.

Thank God there were no children here, Mr. Barazotto thought. They’d have been fish in a barrel.

Above him, farther up the steps, the first SWAT team into the building encountered a locked door. They called for a ram so they could break it down and get through.

Mr. Barazotto heard bangs, and he thought it was the ram smashing into the door.

But it was gunfire.

Contact, contact! Shots fired, shots fired!

10:53 A.M.

'... At that point my gut fell to the floor.'

“At that point my gut fell to the floor,” Mr. Barazotto said. He and others charged up the stairwell, a narrow, cramped space full of people and guns.

They grabbed Officer Timothy Matson and carried him down the steps, rushing.

“I dropped him down the steps twice,” Mr. Barazotto said. “He’s a big boy ... I dropped him on his head; I felt bad.”

They got Officer Matson to the landing with the nursery, pushed chairs out of the way and put him on the floor, assessed his injuries. They threw him on a mover — a big piece of fabric with handles — and hustled him down the stairs.

We have separation of our team, separation of our team.

10:57 A.M.

Pittsburgh tactical EMS squad paramedic Justin Sypolt of Westwood was among the first people in the door at the Tree of Life Synagogue. (Jessie Wardarski/Post-Gazette)

Pittsburgh paramedic Nicolas D’Ambrosio, 36, ran with police officers along Wilkins Avenue, half-crouched for cover and wearing his ballistic vest. He followed the officers through the doors of the synagogue.

Straight ahead sat a table with snacks. To his right, a large open hall. And to his left, a staircase, and tactical paramedics, carrying down a gravely wounded Officer Matson.

Mr. Sypolt passed Officer Matson to Mr. D’Ambrosio’s team.

“I gave a face-to-face report with one of the guys there so they knew exactly what we saw and what we did so they could pick off exactly where we left off,” Mr. Sypolt said.

Mr. D’Ambrosio helped transfer the officer onto a stretcher and then tried to get an IV started while they waited for the ambulance. He didn’t hear the next volley of gunshots, just an officer’s scream.

“Shots fired!” the officer shouted and pushed Mr. D’Ambrosio against a wall, where he and an EMT crouched for cover. The other paramedics rushed the officer’s stretcher out the front door to a waiting ambulance.

'... You could almost look at the scene and it would talk to you and tell you what he did. He just — dismembered these people.'

For a few moments, Mr. D’Ambrosio and the EMT were separated from the rest of the paramedics. Then, his division chief came back in. He told them they needed to move forward, to be ready in case more people were wounded.

The three grabbed their gear: a bag, a stretcher, an oxygen tank. They moved into the stairwell.

It was filled with bodies.

“I’d never seen anything that horrific,” Mr. D’Ambrosio said softly. “In 14 years I’ve seen my fair share of gruesome events, but the only word to define that is evil. You could almost look at the scene and it would talk to you and tell you what he did. He just — dismembered these people.”

Mr. D’Ambrosio waited there for five minutes, maybe, on high alert, struggling to process the carnage but bracing for the next patient, wanting to be ready, wanting to help his team, his friends.

“I’ve never in my life been in a situation like that, and it feels like you’re watching an ’80s action movie where there is gunfire and people yelling and screaming and radio traffic and so much noise it almost becomes quiet because there is so much going on,” he said. “It was really overwhelming to take all that in.”

That's where I saw the muzzle flash.

10:59 A.M.

Mr. Barazotto returned to the landing after he passed Officer Matson to the paramedics downstairs. Then the SWAT operators on the third level called that another officer had been shot.

Officer Anthony Burke came down, hit in the wrist, bleeding profusely from a small but serious wound. Mr. Barazotto and the paramedics with him had to use multiple tourniquets to stop the bleeding. They walked the officer out and passed him off to the crew downstairs.

Upstairs, the shooter showed police his hands.

There is communication with the suspect actor.

11:03 A.M.

Mug shot of Robert Bowers (Butler County Prison)

Mr. Bowers told the SWAT team he was carrying an AR-15 and a Glock. He told them his name, his age and his date of birth. The SWAT team ordered Mr. Bowers to crawl toward them. Wounded, he did so.

Worried he might be carrying explosives or the surrender might be a trap, the team painstakingly ordered Mr. Bowers’ every move. The process stretched on for several long minutes.

Suspect is talking about all these jews need to die.

11:08 A.M.

'... He had this sinister grin that was almost sickening.'

Mr. D’Ambrosio’s team got word that the shooter was cornered, that it was only a matter of time before SWAT had him in custody. Mr. D’Ambrosio’s division chief moved the group to the back of the synagogue. They rolled the stretcher down a small alley behind the building and waited to treat the shooter.

He was unclothed but covered when SWAT brought him out — that’s standard procedure when treating trauma patients, get rid of the clothes to be sure no wounds are missed. They applied a tourniquet and put dressings on his wounds, preparing him for transport.

Mr. Bowers did not speak.

“He had this sinister grin that was almost sickening,” Mr. D’Ambrosio said. “I remember him having this look of satisfaction on his face that was haunting. It was disturbing.”

An officer secures the roof of the synagogue. (Alexandra Wimley/Post-Gazette)

Still, Mr. D’Ambrosio didn’t hesitate to treat him.

“It’s my job,” he said. “You do what needs to be done.”

Later, when things calmed down, Mr. Sypolt leaned against a car window outside the synagogue, talking to another guy on the team, when the man shushed him and reached for the car radio.

“He turned up the radio, and the president of the United States is talking about what happened in Pittsburgh,” Mr. Sypolt said. “And at that moment I was like, ‘This is a big deal.’ It didn’t hit me [until then] that what we were part of on Saturday is an event the whole world is looking at.”

This courtroom sketch depicts Robert Gregory Bowers — who was wounded in a gun battle with police — as he appeared in a wheelchair at federal court on Oct. 29, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (Dave Klug via AP)

Accused of carrying out one of the deadliest anti-Semitic attacks in U.S. history, Mr. Bowers spent a day recovering at Allegheny General Hospital before he was brought to federal court Monday in a wheelchair to face initial charges, and walked in again on Thursday to face additional charges.

He is charged with 44 federal counts in the attack, which authorities have designated a hate crime, as well as crimes in the state court system.

Before Mr. Bowers was released from the hospital — he’s now being held in the Butler County Prison — hospital president and doctor Jeffrey Cohen paid him a visit.

Dr. Cohen, who is Jewish, wanted to see for himself the man accused in the massacre. When they met, he perceived Mr. Bowers as dull, incapable of generating his own hate and so absorbing it from others, someone isolated from society.

“He’s a guy. He’s not the face of evil. He was a baby once. He was a toddler once. And people were looking at him with all the hope in the world,” Dr. Cohen said, adding that his actions are inexcusable. “Here’s someone all alone and all he hears is the noise in his head all the time.”

"Do not let his death be in vain. Drive out evil from your own life and help another drive it out of their life. The only way to combat evil is with love."

MARGARET DURACHKO, WIDOW OF RICHARD GOTTFRIED

Rabbi Eli Wilansky lights a candle after the mass shooting at Tree of Life synagogue, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (Steph Chambers/Post-Gazette)

The shock and horror that swelled up in the hours after the massacre gave way to sorrow and resolve as the world’s attention landed on Pittsburgh.

“Pittsburgh is a strong town,” Mayor Bill Peduto said. “We are a resilient city. We have been knocked down, and we have found ways to stand back up, and we’ve always done it in one way: by working together.”

A street-side memorial grew from 13 bouquets to thousands of flowers, candles, notes, balloons and posters on the sidewalk outside the synagogue as Pittsburgh’s Jewish community reeled, came together and rebounded with renewed resolve, calling for an end to hate and racism and violence, grieving deeply for the lost lives and lost sanctity.

A woman pauses in her car as the funeral procession for Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz drives by en route to Homewood Cemetery, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Steph Chambers/Post-Gazette)

“We were all under attack last Saturday,” said Rabbi Daniel Yolkut of the Poale Zedeck Congregation. “It happened to be that the murderer walked into one of the synagogues in Squirrel Hill, but it could have just as easily been any of one us. The mourning is really a communal mourning. Obviously it does not compare to the pain the family is going through, but we are, in concentric circles, feeling the same suffering.”

Those killed were stalwarts of their congregations, and thousands attended their funerals. Mourners remembered small things: a penchant for bow ties, jokes so bad you had to laugh, a love of classical music.

Mr. Siriano carried a casket at the funeral for Cecil and David Rosenthal. They were buried together, in unmarked closed caskets.

“It’s going to be really tough going back and not having them anymore,” Mr. Siriano said. “It was really hard watching them be buried.”

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania lay stones and flowers at a memorial for Tree of Life victims as Rabbi Jeffrey Myers looks on, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)

President Donald Trump called the attack a “wicked act of mass murder” and “pure evil, hard to believe and frankly something that is unimaginable.” He visited Pittsburgh Tuesday, stopped by the synagogue and spent time with the officers wounded in the attack. Thousands protested his presence; local elected officials did not join the president during his trip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he and his country stand with Pittsburgh and the United States.

“I was heartbroken and appalled,” he said of the attack. “The entire people of Israel grieve with the families of the dead.”

Mourners greet Pittsburgh police officers after the funeral of brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018, at Congregation Rodef Shalom in Shadyside. (Lake Fong/Post-Gazette)

Mr. Barazotto and Mr. D’Ambrosio relied on colleagues, family and friends in the days after the shooting. The city held a debriefing for those involved in the response; it was an opportunity to come together and process what had happened with others who experienced it.

“As awful of a tragedy as it is, you do everything you can to take positive out of it,” Mr. D’Ambrosio said. “People have come up to the station. They don’t know me, they don’t know us, but they’ve stopped and brought food and given support.”

For Mr. Barazotto, the focus is on getting back to business as usual, on taking the next call. It’s not healthy to dwell on the horror, he said. It won’t do any good, won’t change anything. It will just dissolve you. Instead, he focuses on the injured people whom he helped save.

“The world is evil,” he said. “I understand that. … My part in this place is to try to help.”

The crowd overflows outside the interfaith vigil organized to honor those impacted by the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Oakland. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)

Batsheva Konikov, left, 15, of Orlando Fla. hugs Rochel Capland, second from left, 16, of Squirrel Hill, as they walk with other Yeshiva Schools students in the funeral procession for Joyce Fienberg, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, in Squirrel Hill. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)

Auditoriums overflowed with thousands during vigils and interfaith services.

People cried and sang, held each other and prayed, shuddered at the attack and remembered those killed for how they lived, not how they died.

Rabbi Perlman, who pushed Mr. Werber and Ms. Black into the storage closet, made an emotional plea during a vigil attended by more than 2,000 people inside Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Oakland the day after the attack. He spoke about Mr. Gottfried, Mr. Stein and Mr. Wax.

REMEMBERING THE VICTIMS

Joyce Fienberg

A mother of two and grandmother of six, Joyce Feinberg threw herself into volunteer work after her husband, Carnegie Mellon University statistics professor Stephen E. Fienberg, died two years ago. She volunteered with needy children and often picked up Rabbi Jeffrey Myers and a 99-year-old member of the congregation on the way to Tree of Life from her Oakland condominium. “She frequently opened the building, prepared food and just volunteered to help,” Rabbi Myers said. “No one asked her to do it. She just did it. She was a pure soul.”

Born in Canada, the 75-year-old Ms. Fienberg retired 10 years ago from a 25-year career at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center. Graduate students knew her as a surrogate mother, welcoming them into her home and sending them holiday cards for years afterward.

Richard Gottfried

A dentist from Ross, Richard Gottfried rediscovered Judaism in 1992 after his father died, starting by reciting the kaddish mourning prayer every day and eventually becoming a full-fledged member — and president — of the New Light Congregation.

The 65-year-old gave his time freely not just at New Light and as a pre-marriage counselor with his wife at St. Athanasius Church in West View but also in the dental world, volunteering at Catholic Charities and working part time at the Squirrel Hill Health Center, where he treated refugees and other recent immigrants.

A Uniontown native, Mr. Gottfried got his undergraduate and dental degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He and his wife, dentist Peg Durachko, ran the Gottfried & Durachko dental practice in West View for more than two decades.

Mr. Gottfried’s sister, Carol Gottfried Black, joined the New Light Congregation as well and survived the attack at Tree of Life by hiding in a supply closet.

Rose Mallinger

Known as “Bubbie” — Yiddish for grandmother — 97-year-old Rose Mallinger was a 60-year member of the Tree of Life synagogue and a fixture in the Squirrel Hill community where she lived. “You’ve never met a more vivacious 97-year-old,” said Brian Schreiber, a member of Tree of Life. “She was just so full of life. She had so much energy.”

Ms. Mallinger “retained her sharp wit, humor and intelligence until the very last day,” her family said in a statement. She was one of six siblings and had three children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Her daughter, Andrea Wedner, 61, was wounded in the attack at Tree of Life.

Jerry Rabinowitz

Put simply, Jerry Rabinowitz was “one of the finest people I’ve ever met in my life,” said his longtime medical partner, Ken Ciesielka.

Dr. Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood was a member of the Dor Hadash congregation that met inside Tree of Life. Often seen wearing a bow tie, he was a devoted family practice doctor who took extraordinary measures to treat his patients, whether it was making house calls, calling them daily or doing pioneering work with AIDS patients in Pittsburgh.

Dr. Rabinowitz was “the sort of doctor who sent you on your way feeling better in all respects,” said longtime patient Jan Grice of Shadyside, adding, “I’m one of hundreds who would say the same thing.”

Cecil and David Rosenthal

Brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal, who both had developmental disabilities, were roommates at a communal living facility in Squirrel Hill. Outgoing and boisterous, Cecil, 59, was known as the unofficial mayor of Squirrel Hill for his propensity to walk through the business district, chatting up everyone around him. David, 54 and much quieter, was obsessed with policemen and firefighters and carried around his prized possession, a police scanner.

The brothers were two of the most devoted members at Tree of Life, where Cecil often served as a greeter and David used his fastidious cleaning skills to keep things neat and tidy. “They were just part of the fabric that every group wants to have,” said Barton Schachter, a past president for Tree of Life. “They’re there all the time, and they’re just two wonderful kids.”

Bernice and Sylvan Simon

Sixty-two years ago, Bernice and Sylvan Simon married at the Tree of Life synagogue, their Saturday-night ceremony performed by candlelight.

The dedicated members of Tree of Life died there on Shabbat, together in a pew, Mr. Simon, age 86, and and Ms. Simon, age 84.

Residents of Wilkinsburg, Mr. Simon was a military veteran and retired accountant while Ms. Simon had worked as a nurse. The two enjoyed going to the Pittsburgh Symphony together and often joked with one another.

“Our parents did everything together as a married couple,” said the Simons’ children in a statement released earlier this week. “They were deeply in love with each other and persevered in the tragic loss of a son in 2010. As longtime and deeply rooted Pittsburgh residents, their life together began 62 years ago and forever ended last Saturday in the same chapel where they were wed.”

Daniel Stein

Father of two and new grandfather Daniel Stein was known as someone always willing to pitch in for a tough task, especially for one of several leadership roles he held at the New Light Congregation over the years. “My dad was a simple man and did not require much,” wrote his son, Joe Stein, in a Facebook post, noting that two of his father’s great loves were his synagogue and his 7-month-old grandson, Henri.

The 71-year-old from Squirrel Hill was one of the pillars of the congregation, said Rabbi Jonathan Perlman, greeting Rabbi Perlman’s daughter with a friendly fist-bump. Barton Schachter, a past president of Tree of Life, described him as engaging and unpretentious, noting that he had “this phenomenal ability to smile.”

Melvin Wax

Even at age 87, Melvin Wax regularly parked several streets away from the Tree of Life synagogue to leave closer spaces for those who needed them more. A father, grandfather and retired accountant for Calig Steel Drum, Mr. Wax was known for telling corny jokes that were “so bad you had to laugh at them,” said his childhood friend, Hugh Casper.

Mr. Wax, of Squirrel Hill, was a past president of the New Light Congregation. “It didn’t matter if it was snowing, hailing, raining — he was always there Friday night, Saturday morning and Sunday morning,” said Ada Perlman, daughter of Rabbi Jonathan Perlman. “No one was ever there before Mel.”

Irving Younger

Irving Younger lived in Mount Washington but was well known in Squirrel Hill. “He was always a gentleman,” said friend Rachel Marcus. “He loved to sit and talk.”

Mr. Younger, 69, ran a real estate company and coached baseball — both Little League and as an assistant at his alma mater, Taylor Allderdice High School. For a time, he coached Little League with city Councilman Corey O’Connor, and volunteered to knock on doors for him when he first ran for office. “He was a joy,” said Mr. O’Connor. He also volunteered for whatever needed to be done at Tree of Life, arriving early, staying late and guiding congregants to their seat.

Known as “Irv,” Mr. Younger also made regular trips to Southern California to visit both of his children, who have lived there for a decade, and his 2-year-old grandson.

• • •

Six police officers and two synagogue members were injured in the Tree of Life shootings. Officers Daniel Mead, Michael Smidga, Anthony Burke and Timothy Matson were shot as they attempted to stop the shooter. Officer John Persin suffered a hearing injury and Officer Tyler Pashel injured his knee during the incident.

Andrea Wedner, 61, whose mother, Rose Mallinger, was killed, and Daniel Leger, 70, were injured.

A gunman shattered a sacred space and ripped a hole in the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and beyond. But those left bereft have pledged they will not be cowed by threats or defeated by hatred.

CREDITS

STORY BY

SHELLY BRADBURY

ADDITIONAL REPORTING

KRIS MAMULA

LIZ NAVRATIL

PETER SMITH

ELIZABETH BEHRMAN

ASHLEY MURRAY

BILL SCHACKNER

MATT MCKINNEY

TORSTEN OVE

ANYA SOSTEK

RICH LORD

JONATHAN D. SILVER

PAULA REED WARD

JULIAN ROUTH

ADAM SMELTZ

MARYLYNNE PITZ

INTRO VIDEO BY

ANDREW RUSH

OUTRO VIDEO BY

STEVE MELLON

GRAPHICS BY

JAMES HILSTON

CHANCE BRINKMAN-SULL

DANIEL MARSULA

EDITING

LILLIAN THOMAS

DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT

BEN HOWARD

SAM UNDERWOOD