Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims were grandparents, brothers, devout Jews

The victims in the shooting massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday morning were grandparents, brothers and parents.

The 11 members of the congregation were identified Sunday by the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office, according to WPXI-TV.

>> Read more trending news

The victims are:

Joyce Fienberg, 75

Richard Gottfried, 65

Rose Mallinger, 97

Jerry Rabinowitz, 66

Cecil Rosenthal, 59

David Rosenthal, 54

Bernice Simon, 84

Sylvan Simon, 87

Daniel Stein, 71

Melvin Wax, 88

Irving Younger, 69

Credit: Matt Rourke

Credit: Matt Rourke

The victims died when alleged gunman Robert Bowers, 46, opened fire inside the synagogue. Bowers is accused of injuring six other people, including four police officers. Authorities said the suspect, who was armed with a rifle and three handguns, surrendered after a firefight with police. He was shot multiple times but survived.

Related: Photos: Thousands attend vigil after deadly shooting at Pittsburgh synagogue

Bowers is charged with 11 counts of criminal homicide, six counts of criminal attempted homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation.

Related: Family fears relative victim of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

WPXI reported that a GoFundMe page has been set up to help victims and those affected by the shooting.

“All funds raised will directly go to the Tree of Life Congregation from GoFundMe, and there is no third party intermediary,” Shay Khatiri, who started the fundraiser, said. More than $300,000 has been raised toward the $1 million goal.

Here’s what we know about the victims:

Daniel Stein


Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill, was a kind man, according to his nephew, who spoke to WPXI's Rick Earle on Saturday.

Stein, who was retired and lived with his wife, went to Saturday's service at Tree of Life Synagogue alone.

“He was a great guy. He went down to Florida with me last month to pack up some stuff. 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,” Steven Halle, Stein’s nephew, said.

Jerry Rabinowitz


Rabinowitz, 66, served as the personal physician for former Allegheny County Deputy District Attorney Law Claus for 30 years. Claus issued a statement late Sunday morning.

"Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz was more than just a physician for me and my family," Claus said in a statement late Sunday morning. "For over three decades he was truly a trusted confidant and healer who could always be counted upon to provide sage advice whenever he was consulted on medical matters, usually providing that advice with a touch of genuine humor. He had a truly uplifting demeanor, and as a practicing physician he was among the very best."

He was also the personal doctor of Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Ben Schmitt and his father.

"Kind and funny, Dr. Rabinowitz completely personified the term 'bedside manner,'" Schmitt said.

Dr. Rabinowitz practiced family medicine in Pittsburgh, Schmitt said.

Brothers Cecil Rosenthal and David Rosenthal


ACHIEVA, an organization that supports people with disabilities released the following statement about the death of brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal:

“The ACHIEVA family is devastated at the loss of two well-respected members of our community. Two extraordinary men, brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal, 59 and 54 respectively,were victims of the tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue.

“Cecil and David had a love for life and for those around them. As long-standing recipients of ACHIEVA’s residential and employment services, they were as much a part of the ACHIEVA family as they were their beloved neighborhood of Squirrel Hill.

“They loved life. They loved their community. They spent a lot of time at the Tree of Life, never missing a Saturday.”


“If they were here they would tell you that is where they were supposed to be,” ACHIEVA’s Chris Schopf said.

“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,” Schopf said.

Melvin Wax

Credit: Courtesy of Barry Werber via AP

Credit: Courtesy of Barry Werber via AP

Wax, 88, a retired accountant, was a member of the New Light Congregation, which rented space in the lower level of the Tree of Life synagogue, The Associated Press reported.

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

Wax was a kind man and a pillar of the congregation, filling just about every role except cantor, Snider said.

He was also a lifelong Pirates fan, The New York Times reported, despite the team's World Series drought . They haven't won a the series since 1979 and have been mediocre at best for most of the past 25 years.

Joyce Fienberg


Fienberg, 75, was a retired researcher, according to The Associated Press. She worked at the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Research and Development Center. She prayed at the Tree of Life synagogue every day after her husband's death, according to The New York Times.

“Joyce was a magnificent, generous, caring, and profoundly thoughtful human being,” Feinberg’s friend and decades-long research partner, Dr. Gaea Leinhardt, said.

Richard Gottfried


Gottfried, 65, was a dentist and business partner with his wife, Dr. Peg Durachko. Both are University of Pittsburgh alumni. Along with his Catholic wife, Gottfried volunteered for Catholic Charities Free Dental Clinic and helped prepare couples for marriage at St. Athanasius Church. According to the clinic's website he enjoyed playing golf, reading and had completed the City of Pittsburgh Great Race 28 times.

Bernice and Sylvan Simon

Sylvan and Bernice Simon

Posted by WPXI Jennifer Tomazic on Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Bernice, 84, and her husband, Sylvan, 87, lived together in Wilkinsburg, WPXI reported.

“Our hearts are broken,” said Pam Glaser, who lived next door to the couple for decades. “They were so likable and cared about other people."

She said the Simons, who were married 62 years, were both getting a bit frail and recently struggling with health issues.

Rose Mallinger


Rose Mallinger, 97, was the oldest victim of the shooting, WPXI reported. She lived in Squirrel Hill.

“It’s hard to talk about Rose without crying,” said Mickie Diamond, whose husband, Chuck, once served as Rabbi at Tree of Life synagogue. Diamond said Rose never missed a Saturday.

She used to attend services with her sister, Sylvia, and when Sylvia passed away, Rose's daughter, Andrea Wedner, starting taking her.

"Andrea would sit next to her mom; I mean, for years this was their routine,” Diamond said. “The thought of her and this violent action, it’s just ... inconceivable.”

Mother and daughter were in their usual spot when both were shot Saturday. Andrea is still hospitalized but expected to survive.

Irving Younger

Younger, 69, was a realtor who lived in Mt. Washington, WPXI reported.

He was a greeter at the synagogue and had been attending for the past 10 years.

He was also a longtime realtor in Squirrel Hill who was very active in community functions.

A neighbor, who asked not to be identified, shared the following about him:

"Very caring neighbor, he always looked out all the time for his neighbors. He loved Halloween. He always used to come out and give out candy at trick-or-treat. He was a kind soul."

About the Author