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Pittsburgh shooting victim grew up and studied in Toronto, married at local synagogue, rabbi says

Click to play video: 'Pittsburgh medical examiner identifies victims of synagogue shooting'
Pittsburgh medical examiner identifies victims of synagogue shooting
WATCH: Dr. Karl Wililams, Pittsburgh's chief medical examiner, released the names of the victims of Saturday's deadly synagogue shooting at a media briefing on Sunday – Oct 28, 2018

A Toronto-based rabbi posted on Facebook Sunday afternoon that one of the 11 victims killed in the Saturday shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue grew up in Toronto and was married at the city’s Holy Blossom Temple.

“Joyce Feinberg z”l, one of the eleven, grew up at Holy Blossom Temple. I did not know her. She was married here before my time. But I walk past her every day — her Confirmation Class photo is on our wall of honour,” Yael Splansky posted on her Facebook page.

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Feinberg, 75, died after a shooter entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and opened fire on a Shabbat service, killing 11 people and wounding six others. Most of the victims of the shooting were elderly worshippers.

Robert Gregory Bowers was detained and faces 29 felony charges in connection to the shooting. The FBI has deemed the shooting a hate crime.

According to the post, Feinberg was married in the Holy Blossom Temple, and her confirmation photo currently hangs on its “wall of honour.”

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The post was shared by the temple both on Facebook and Twitter.

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Feinberg worked as a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center, studying learning in the classroom and museums. Her projects involved education practices.

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

“Joyce was a magnificent, generous, caring and profoundly thoughtful human being,” she said.

The research centre’s current director, Charles Perfetti, said Fienberg earned her bachelor’s degree in social psychology from the University of Toronto, in her native Canada.

She brought a keen mind, engaging personality and “a certain elegance and dignity” to the centre, Perfetti said.

“One could have elevated conversations with her that were very interesting,” even if they were brief, he said. “I was always impressed with her.”

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Feinberg was married to fellow academic Stephen Feinberg, who passed away after a battle with cancer in 2016. He was a well-known professor of statistics and social science at Carnegie Mellon University.

According to an obituary of Stephen posted to the university’s website, his work has been used to shape national policy on forensic science, education and criminal justice.

He was also from Toronto. The obituary states Stephen received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and statistics from the University of Toronto and his master’s degree and doctorate in statistics from Harvard University.

The couple was married in 1965 and moved to Pittsburgh in the early 1980s. Feinberg began her work at the centre in 1983. The couple is survived by two sons, Anthony and Howard, and six grandchildren.

According to the obituary posted by Carnegie Mellon, Stephen’s funeral was held at the Tree of Life synagogue.

—With files from the Associated Press

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