There are 11 Stars of David standing outside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa., memorials to the 11 people killed in a shooting that’s being called the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.
One of them reads Joyce Fienberg — it honours a Toronto-raised woman who is being remembered as a “wonderful” and “joyous” person.
Coverage of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting on Globalnews.ca:
Fienberg, 75, grew up in Toronto and still has family living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
They include cousins as well as a brother and sister-in-law who live in Thornhill.
She attended Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto’s Forest Hill area and married her husband Stephen in 1965.
Her death was “horrific,” said Randy Spiegel, executive director of the Beth Tzedec Congregation.
“This was someone destroying life taking away that which we all hold so dear.”
Spiegel has been speaking with Fienberg’s family and said they are “devastated.”
“It isn’t lost on me that her name was Joyce,” he told Global News.
“The first part of that is ‘joy’ and everything that I have heard about her is that she was an angel.”
Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl, also of the Beth Tzedec Congregation, has likewise been in contact with Fienberg’s family.
“They are terribly distraught,” he said.
“Their memories are of a wonderful, joyous individual who loved being with people, who loved coming back to Toronto.”
Global News spoke with a senior rabbi at Holy Blossom Temple who said the community is in shock, still reeling from the deadly incident.
“It is surprising that the tie from here to there is as close as it is,” said Rabbi Yael Splansky.
“She grew up here, she has many friends in the congregation and they are remembering her too.”
A funeral for Fienberg has been scheduled to take place Wednesday.
Religious leaders said the community will take time to heal, but they’ve called on people to seek goodness in the face of tragedy.
“I want to encourage as many people to do acts of kindness, to meet hatred with love,” said Frydman-Kohl.
As many as 3,000 to 5,000 people were expected to attend a vigil at Mel Lastman Square in Toronto on Monday night.
— With files from Katherine Ward