Remembering 11 lives lost to violence
She lived 97 years, only to be gunned down in her synagogue.
That was the unfair end to the life that Rose Mallinger lived with energy, love and joy.
While the enormity of the mass shooting at Tree of Life is most easily comprehended in numbers and turns of phrase — 11 dead in what has been described as the most horrific attack on the American Jewish community in U.S. history — that doesn’t begin to articulate the loss rippling across the victims’ families, professions and communities.
The victims had gifts to give, like Ms. Mallinger’s love and wisdom for her family, and they enriched the world in ways that should be celebrated and remembered.
Consider the sharp mind, healing hand and compassionate heart of Jerry Rabinowitz, a family physician who could make everything better. The field of medicine, so often criticized for bureaucracy these days, will be poorer without his human touch.
Think of Joyce Fienberg, a research specialist at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center from 1983 to 2008. Who knows how many schools, teachers and students benefited from her insights or how her work may influence the field of education for years to come?
Ponder the resilience modeled by David and Cecil Rosenthal, two brothers with intellectual disabilities who lived full lives in a world often unkind to people who are different.
Consider the cumulative effect of the many kindnesses of Daniel Stein and Irving Younger, who served as youth baseball coaches and held various roles at the synagogue. Mr. Younger often greeted congregants and bid them welcome. Vibrant communities and well-run organizations rely on volunteers like these.
How precious the example of Bernice and Sylvan Simon, a married couple whose love spanned more than six decades; of Richard Gottfried, a dentist who married a Catholic woman and volunteered his services to a free clinic run by Catholic Charities; and of Melvin Wax, whose spirituality defied an ever-more-secular world. Bill Cartiff, a friend of Mr. Wax, said that going to synagogue “was as important to him as breakfast to most people.”
Only by knowing a little about the victims is it possible to fathom all that was stolen by one man with crazy ideas about Jews and refugees. If people filled with hate got to know the people they’ve come to hate, there might be more peace in the world. Who could hate Ms. Mallinger or the Rosenthals? Mr. Cartiff asked, “How do we move from here?”
The lives the 11 lived — filled with joy, civic-mindedness and compassion for others — are pointing the way.