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Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims included 97-year-old woman, couple in their 80s

WATCH: Husband and wife among the victims of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

A 97-year-old woman, a husband-and-wife couple in their 80s and a pair of brothers in their 50s were among the 11 people killed in Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday by suspected gunman Robert Bowers.

Officials released the names of the victims, most of whom were elderly worshipers, at a press conference on Sunday.

Five of the victims lived in Squirrel Hill, the heavily-Jewish neighbourhood in which the synagogue is located. The rest were from other Pittsburgh neighbourhoods and communities surrounding the city.

WATCH: Pittsburgh medical examiner identifies victims of synagogue shooting

Pittsburgh medical examiner identifies victims of synagogue shooting
Pittsburgh medical examiner identifies victims of synagogue shooting

The oldest victim was identified as 97-year-old Rose Malinger.

Married couple Bernice Simon, 84, and Sylvan Simon, 86, also lost their lives in the massacre.

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David and Cecil Rosenthal, aged 54 and 59, respectively, were identified as the brothers who were killed.

This undated photo provided by David DeFelice shows DeFelice, left, and his friend Cecil Rosenthal. Rosenthal was killed when a gunman opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018.
This undated photo provided by David DeFelice shows DeFelice, left, and his friend Cecil Rosenthal. Rosenthal was killed when a gunman opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. David DeFelice via AP

Toronto woman slain

The tragedy also has a Canadian connection. One of the 11 killed, 75-year-old Joyce Feinberg, grew up in Toronto and attended the city’s Holy Blossom Temple as a youth, the synagogue said in a Facebook post.

Joyce Feinberg is shown in this undated family handout photo.
Joyce Feinberg is shown in this undated family handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Howard Fienberg

Yael Splansky, a rabbi at the synagogue, said a confirmation class photo of Feinberg’s still hangs on the temple’s wall of honour.

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READ MORE: Jewish communities across Canada hold vigils to remember Pittsburgh shooting victims

Feinberg spent most of her career at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center. She retired in 2008 from her job as a researcher looking at learning in the classroom and in museums. She worked on several projects, including studying the practices of highly effective teachers.

Dr. Gaea Leinhardt, who was Feinberg’s research partner for decades, says she is devastated by the murder of her colleague and friend.

“Joyce was a magnificent, generous, caring and profoundly thoughtful human being,” Leinhardt says.

A new grandfather

Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill was described as a family man who recently became a grandfather.

This undated photo provided by Barry Werber shows Danny Stein. Stein was killed when a gunman opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (Courtesy of Barry Werber via AP)
This undated photo provided by Barry Werber shows Danny Stein. Stein was killed when a gunman opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (Courtesy of Barry Werber via AP) Courtesy of Barry Werber via AP

“He was somebody that everybody liked. Very dry sense of humour and recently had a grandson who loved him,” Stein’s nephew Steven Halle told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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“This is going to be a horrible loss for the baby, growing up without a grandfather.”

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The co-president of the area’s Hadassah chapter, Nancy Shuman, says Judaism was very important to Stein. His wife, Sharyn, is the chapter’s membership vice president.

Shuman says, “Both of them were very passionate about the community and Israel.”

‘A sweet, sweet guy’

Melvin Wax, 88, of Squirrel Hill was described by fellow members of the New Light Congregation as a pillar of the congregation, filling many roles there.

This undated photo provided by Barry Werber shows Melvin Wax. Wax was killed when a gunman opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (Courtesy of Barry Werber via AP)
This undated photo provided by Barry Werber shows Melvin Wax. Wax was killed when a gunman opened fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (Courtesy of Barry Werber via AP) Courtesy of Barry Werber via AP

Wax’s friend Myron Snider says the retired accountant, who was slightly hard of hearing, was unfailingly generous.

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“When my daughters were younger, they would go to him, and he would help them with their federal income tax every year. Never charged them,” said Snider, chairman of the congregation’s cemetery committee.

“He and I used to, at the end of services, try to tell a joke or two to each other. Most of the time, they were clean jokes. Most of the time. I won’t say all the time. But most of the time.”

WATCH: Pittsburgh mom, children thank police in wake of synagogue shooting

Pittsburgh mom, children thank police in wake of synagogue shooting
Pittsburgh mom, children thank police in wake of synagogue shooting
 

Snider had just been released from a hospital stay for pneumonia, and was not at Saturday’s services in the synagogue. He said Wax called his wife to get his phone number in the hospital so he could talk to him.

“Just a sweet, sweet guy,” Snider said.

WATCH: Pittsburgh vigil organizer says they ‘can’t move on’ after synagogue shooting

Pittsburgh vigil organizer says they ‘can’t move on’ after synagogue shooting
Pittsburgh vigil organizer says they ‘can’t move on’ after synagogue shooting

Wax, Stein and 65-year-old Richard Gottfried, who was also killed in the massacre, were described as “the heart, the religious heart” of the New Light Congregation, according to its co-president Stephen Cohen.

“They led the service. They maintained the Torah. They did what needed to be done with the rabbi to make our services happen,” Cohen said.

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Gottfried was also preparing for a new chapter in his life. The dentist, who often did charity work seeing patients who could not afford dental care normally, was preparing to retire in the next few months.

He ran a dental office with his wife.

‘A trusted confidant and healer’

Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood was a personal physician described as someone who had an uplifting demeanour and provided sage advice.

“He was truly a trusted confidant and healer,” wrote former Allegheny County deputy district attorney Law Claus, who was a patient of Rabinowitz’s, in an email to his former co-workers. “Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz … could always be counted upon to provide sage advice whenever he was consulted on medical matters, usually providing that advice with a touch of genuine humour.”

READ MORE: Officials say Pittsburgh shooting suspect Robert Bowers talked of ‘desire to kill Jewish people’

The last victim is 69-year-old Irving Younger of Mt. Washington.

WATCH: Police investigate residence of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect

Police investigate residence of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect
Police investigate residence of Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said the city would rally around the victims’ family and friends.

“We’re here as a community of one for you,” he said. “We will be here to help you get through this horrific episode. We’ll get through this darkest day of Pittsburgh’s history by working together.”

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READ MORE: Transcript reveals police response to synagogue shooting

Authorities say gunman Bowers made statements about genocide and killing Jewish people, and yelled “All Jews must die” when he stormed the synagogue.

He has been charged with 29 federal counts, including violence and firearms offences as well as violations of civil rights laws, and could face the death penalty.

Bowers is being treated for gunshot wounds and is due in court Monday.

— With files from the Associated Press

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