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They were the synagogue’s most faithful. Two brothers who’d walked to services each week since boyhood and now, in their 50s, handed out hugs and hellos at Tree of Life’s front entrance. The local doctor who helped set up Dor Hadash’s weekly meetings and led its Torah studies. An 88-year-old retired accountant known to attend New Light Congregation’s services each Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

When the gunman entered on Saturday, his bullets found members of each of the three congregations that shared this space in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill. The names of those killed, released by authorities Sunday, amount to a roster of “the regulars.” Those slain were Tree of Life’s beating heart, as much fixtures of this synagogue as the fading pews. Rose Mallinger, 97, was said to have barely missed a service in decades, for years volunteering to prepare breakfast for her fellow congregants. Joyce Fienberg, 75,

enthusiastically took turns as the front-door greeter. Irving Younger, 69, sat in the back and handed out prayer books to those sneaking in late. Like most houses of worship, Tree of Life kept open doors, offering shelter from the winds and the rain, refu­ge from perils and snares of the outside world. Within its walls, members found fellowship and built community. All were free to join: from the weekly faithful to the long-absent family member to the unknown traveler. But on Saturday,

it was an an enemy who entered the open door. Police have said Robert Bowers, who has been charged in the shooting, wanted “to kill Jews.” Social media postings in Bowers’s name show he feared the foreign refugees he believed these worshipers would help find safe harbor here. So Bowers grabbed his guns and shouted in anger as he entered Tree of Life, squeezing the trigger he hoped would put out its pulse. By the time the shooting had stopped, 11 of the faithful were dead, slaughtered in the shelter of their sanctuary.

(Maria Cuellar)

Joyce Fienberg, 75

There was a long-standing joke at Gaea Leinhardt’s University of Pittsburgh research center: If she needed to remember something — even “small bits of information that I might need someday” — she would mention it to her research assistant, Joyce Fienberg. Without fail, Fienberg would be able to recall it, even years later.

“She was just a magnificently caring, generous and thoughtful human being,” Leinhardt said. “She never forgot anyone’s birthday. She was always available for whatever one might need.”

  

(Don Salvin)

Richard Gottfried, 65

Like his father and grandfather, Richard Gottfried took his faith seriously, regularly attending Saturday services as a member of the New Light Congregation.

But when Gottfried fell in love in the late 1970s, it was with a practicing Catholic. Peg Durachko was a fellow dental student at the University of Pittsburgh. In 1980, the year he graduated, they married.

 

(Maria Cuellar)

Joyce Fienberg, 75

There was a long-standing joke at Gaea Leinhardt’s University of Pittsburgh research center: If she needed to remember something — even “small bits of information that I might need someday” — she would mention it to her research assistant, Joyce Fienberg. Without fail, Fienberg would be able to recall it, even years later.

“She was just a magnificently caring, generous and thoughtful human being,” Leinhardt said. “She never forgot anyone’s birthday. She was always available for whatever one might need.”

 

  

(Don Salvin)

Richard Gottfried, 65

Like his father and grandfather, Richard Gottfried took his faith seriously, regularly attending Saturday services as a member of the New Light Congregation.

But when Gottfried fell in love in the late 1970s, it was with a practicing Catholic. Peg Durachko was a fellow dental student at the University of Pittsburgh. In 1980, the year he graduated, they married.

 

Rose Mallinger, 97

When Chuck Diamond, a former rabbi at Tree of Life, heard that a gunman had opened fire inside the synagogue, Rose Mallinger was among the first he worried about. The petite 97-year-old who he regularly saw walking in the neighborhood or grocery shopping had attended service for decades, almost without fail. She was always among the first to arrive.

“She was a synagogue-goer, and not everybody is. She’s gone to the synagogue for a lifetime, no matter how many people are there,” Diamond said.

 

 

Jerry Rabinowitz, 66

Jerry Rabinowitz and his wife, Miri, did not have children, so they poured out all of their love and attention on their community, their synagogue and their five cats, said Anna Boswell-Levy, a friend of the couple and a rabbi at a synagogue in Yardley, Pa.

“Jerry and Miri just did everything for this synagogue. They were essential, they were core, to this community,” Boswell-Levy, 42, said. “They were kind of like the welcoming committee.”

 

  

(Photo of Cecil Rosenthal courtesy of Best Buddies)

Cecil Rosenthal and David Rosenthal, 59 and 54

When people showed up for services at Tree of Life, it was often Cecil Rosenthal who would greet them, offering a warm hello, a smile and sometimes a joke. “Cecil was this big man, that just loved to give bear hugs. He was the friendliest person you've ever met,” said Gladys Margolis, who taught Sunday school at Tree of Life for 16 years.

Cecil and his brother David were fixtures at the synagogue, attending services nearly every Saturday for much of their lives. They had been going to Tree of Life since they were young boys, said Chuck Diamond, a former rabbi.

 

 

Bernice Simon and Sylvan Simon, 84 and 86

Neighbors of Bernice and Sylvan Simon remember them as a sweet, kind couple. They often saw Sylvan Simon opening the door for his wife.

Heather Graham, 39, said she and her boyfriend used to shovel snow for the Simons.

 

  

(Family Photo)

Daniel Stein, 71

When Stephen Halle lost his father in September, he expected to do the grim work of cleaning out the older man’s Florida condo alone and moving his mother’s things up to Pittsburgh alone. But then his 71-year-old uncle, Daniel Stein, offered to join him. For days, the two men worked side by side to pack up the condo. It was emblematic, Halle said, of Stein’s generosity and kindness.

Halle said Stein, who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, was retired but had held a number of jobs, including as a salesman, at grocery stores and as a substitute teacher.

 

  

(Courtesy of Barry Werber/AP)

Melvin Wax, 88

Melvin Wax was a veritable fixture at the Tree of Life synagogue as a member of the New Light Congregation, according to his friend and fellow congregant Myron Snider.

“He went Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, when there were Sunday services,” Snider told the Associated Press. “If somebody didn’t come that was supposed to lead services, he could lead the services and do everything.

 

 

 

Irving Younger, 69

When the gunman walked inside the Tree of Life, Irving would have been in the hallway, just coming in. Or he would have been sitting in the back, giving prayer books to people as they arrived, said Chuck Diamond, a former rabbi at Tree of Life.

“Knowing him, he probably helped with whatever they needed,” said Toby Neufeld, who taught at the synagogue's religious school for about 30 years.