Oct 30, 2018

Pittsburgh mourns the ones who didn't hate

Pallbearers carry a casket from Rodef Shalom Congregation after a funeral for Cecil Rosenthal and David Rosenthal. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The first funerals for the Jewish martyrs of Pittsburgh have begun, marked by remembrances of the positive effects they brought to the world.

Why it matters: We can't look away from the kind of hatred and evil that led to the murder of 11 innocents. But we also have to leave room to remember the love and goodness that exist in this world.

Driving the news: Mourners lined up today at the funerals of Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, Cecil Rosenthal, 59, and David Rosenthal, 54.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported from Rabinowitz's funeral:

  • "[I]t was Dr. Rabinowitz himself, and what he meant to his community, that drove how many people left work on a weekday to attend."
  • "Among them was UPMC-affiliated cardiologist Saul Silver... He said he had known Dr. Rabinowitz, a physician, from the late 1980s and talked about the man’s character and compassion for people and for matters, even if the world itself was not ready to extend the same affection."

And the Post-Gazette from the funeral for the Rosenthal brothers:

  • "They could illustrate a dictionary definition for 'pure souls,' [Rabbi Jeffrey Myers] told the packed service."
  • "They had 'not an ounce of hate in them, something we're terribly missing in society today,' said Rabbi Myers, himself a survivor of the attack."

The other victims, whose funerals will be held over the week to come:

  • Melvin Wax, 88
  • Irving Younger, 69
  • Richard Gottfried, 65
  • Rose Mallinger, 97
  • Bernice Simon, 84
  • Sylvan Simon, 86
  • Joyce Fienberg, 75
  • Daniel Stein, 71

Between the lines, by the NYT:

  • "All night long, Jewish volunteers stood solemnly in the rain outside the Tree of Life synagogue, where 11 dead bodies lay inside, sealed off with yellow crime-scene tape."
  • "The deceased were not supposed to be left alone, according to Jewish tradition, from the moment of death until burial. So when the medical examiner removed the bodies at 5 a.m. Sunday, the volunteers were there to escort them to the morgue.
  • Jews do not mourn alone. During shiva, community members visit the relatives of those who have died, bringing food and standing together for kaddish, the memorial prayer. They sit with them, speak fondly of those who have passed on and comfort those left behind."
  • "This week, in the close-knit Jewish community of Pittsburgh, there will be many overlapping shivas."

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