Home > News & Advice > Tree of Life Congregation Shooting Victims (2018)

Tree of Life Congregation Shooting Victims (2018)

by Stephen Segal

11 people were killed, and six others wounded, when a gunman opened fire on the congregation attending services at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. This was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the United States, according to the Anti-Defamation League and Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

“What happened yesterday will not break us. It will not ruin us. We will continue to thrive and sing and worship and learn together and continue our historic legacy in the city with the friendliest people that I know,” said Rabbi Jonathan Perlman at an interfaith memorial service held on Sunday at the University of Pittsburgh’s Soldiers and Sailors Hall.

Profiles of the victims have been published at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and TribLive. They are:


Joyce Fienberg

Joyce Fienberg, 75, of Pittsburgh, was a research specialist in the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center prior to her 2008 retirement. Predeceased by her husband, Stephen, she is survived by her sons, Anthony and Howard, and her grandchildren.

Richard Gottfried

Richard Gottfried, 65, owned a dental practice along with his wife, Margaret “Peg” Durachko. He offered his dental services to those in need, working with low-income residents, refugees, and immigrants at free and low-cost dental clinics. He was president of the New Life Congregation, which met at Tree of Life Synagogue.

Rose Mallinger

Rose Mallinger, 97, was a devoted member of the congregation at Tree of Life. Some news outlets initially reported erroneously that Mallinger was a Holocaust survivor, but she was a native of Squirrel Hill, though she was a young woman during the time of the Holocaust. She is survived by her daughter, Andrea Wedner, who was among those wounded in the attack at Tree of Life, and her son, Alan.

Jerry Rabinowitz

Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, was a family physician who was beloved by his patients. One of his patients, Jan Grice, called him “the sort of doctor who sent you on your way feeling better in all respects.” Amid the chaos of the shooting, Rabinowitz rushed to help other victims and is being hailed as a hero.

Cecil and David Rosenthal

Cecil Rosenthal, 59, was known as the “Honorary Mayor of Squirrel Hill,” a well-loved presence in his community. His brother, David Rosenthal, 54, also killed in the shooting, was remembered by neighbors as a quiet, gentle spirit. The brothers were residents at a local group home for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Bernice and Sylvan Simon

Bernice Simon, 84, was a former nurse who was known in her community for doing charitable work. Her husband, Sylvan Simon, 86, to whom she’d been married since 1956, was an accountant prior to his retirement. Neighbors noted that the couple would hold hands as they walked around their neighborhood.

Daniel Stein

Daniel Stein, 71, was a leader at the New Light Congregation. Fellow congregant Barton Schachter said of Stein, “You call on him for a tough task, and he’ll do it without looking for any kind of pat on the back or plaque or anything.” He had recently become a grandfather.

Melvin Wax

Melvin Wax, 88, was an accountant prior to his retirement, as well as a father and grandfather. An active member of the Jewish Community Center, he was leading Shabbat services at Tree of Life when the shooting began.

Irving Younger

Irving Younger, 69, was a regular at Tree of Life’s services and an enthusiastic volunteer, greeting visitors to the synagogue and helping them get settled. He ran a Pittsburgh real estate company and coached youth baseball.

People around the nation voiced their grief and condolences.

“In the aftermath of this tragedy, we must come together and take action to prevent these tragedies in the future. We cannot accept this violence as normal,” Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said on Twitter.

TribLive collected over a dozen social media posts by entertainers and athletes sharing their thoughts about the shooting and offering words of comfort and support to the victims, their families, and the community.

We invite you to share condolences for the victims in our Guest Book.

Additional coverage from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Additional coverage from TribLive:

More Stories