PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The first funeral services are being held today for victims of Saturday's synagogue shooting in Squirrel Hill.
Eleven people were killed, when a gunman entered the Tree of Life Synagogue just as services were beginning and started shooting.
The victims range in age from 54 to 97 and include a pair of brothers and a married couple.
Thousands Attend Visitation For Cecil and David Rosenthal
Funeral services for Cecil and David Rosenthal began at noon at the Rodef Shalom Temple in Oakland.
Cecil, 59, was known as the "Honorary Mayor of Squirrel Hill" and was a devoted and active member of the Tree of Life Synagogue.
David, 54, was employed by Goodwill Industries and took pride in being a hard worker.
KDKA's Pam Surano Reports:
- Remembering Melvin Wax
- Remembering Joyce Fienberg
- Remembering Richard Gottfried
- Remembering Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz
- Remembering Irving Younger
- Remembering Daniel Stein
- Hundreds Remember, Honor Synagogue Shooting Victims At Greensburg Vigil
A line formed around the temple at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Morewood as thousands came to pay their respects. Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, quarterback Ben Roethliberger, injured linebacker Ryan Shazier, several other players and Art Rooney II were among those who attended the visitation. The family had a close relationship with the team.
"I hope their spirit lives on," said Steelers legend Franco Harris. "This is for everybody, this affects everybody."
Retired Steelers player Brett Keisel served as a pallbearer.
A large police presence was also on hand as many members of the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office and Pittsburgh Police surrounded the temple to guard the two hearses.
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, of Tree of Life Synagogue, said the nearly inseparable pair were permanent fixtures at the synagogue. He said in 35 years, the two brothers never missed services. He described them as the two sweetest human beings you could ever meet.
The Rosenthal brothers are being buried at Tree of Life Memorial Park.
Following the funeral and due to the large number of people wanting to see the family, a second visitation was scheduled for Tuesday evening. Another visitation will be held on Wednesday from 5p.m. until 8 p.m. at the temple.
Funeral Held For Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz
Funeral services were also held Tuesday at 11 a.m. for 66-year-old Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz. At times, the line was wrapped around the block as mourners came to pay their respects.
The silence spoke volumes as mourners walked out of the Robinson Building, where the services were held, right across the street from the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh in Squirrel Hill.
Family, friends and patients came to remember, to pray and to celebrated Dr. Rabinowitz's life.
KDKA's Brenda Waters Reports:
James Hohman and Janera Solomon were both friends of the late doctor.
"I'm very sad. He brought a lot of happiness to a lot of people and we have to go on," said Hohman.
"Jerry was a good friend. He was full of so much joy. I hope for that kind of joy for all of us," added Solomon.
Dr. Rabinowitz, a primary care physician in Edgewood, was called a gentle and caring man. Family members say he was not ambushed by the alleged shooter, but killed while rushing to save others in the synagogue who had come to pray.
Those who knew him say he was that kind of man.
Martin Davis was a member of the doctor's congregation.
"There aren't words that describe what happened. Jerry was a very special man," he said.
Dr. Rabinowitz was known to hold the hands of HIV patients without gloves in the early days of HIV treatment and would embrace his patients when they left his office. Many say he kept them alive the longest before there was effective treatment.
When his funeral service had ended, men and women walked behind the hearse reciting prayers. An honorable tradition for an honorable man.
"We've lost a person, an extremely special person, a special human being, unbelievable," said one of the mourners.
Daniel Stein Laid To Rest
Funeral services for 71-year-old Daniel Stein, a devoted grandfather, also took place Tuesday.
Those arrangements have not been released due to it being a private, family-only event.
Stein was a past president of the New Light congregation and was the current president of their men's club. He was married with two children and recently became a grandfather.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation or the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry.
Services for other victims will be taking place throughout the week.
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