Lori Gilbert Kaye remembered by hundreds | News Coverage from USA

Lori Gilbert Kaye remembered by hundreds

POWAY, Calif. — A standing-room-only crowd of about 700 gathered at Chabad of Poway synagogue Monday to honor Lori Gilbert Kaye, with many of them showing support for a community in mourning and denouncing hate and anti-Semitism.

Kaye, 60, was killed Saturday during an attack on the synagogue near San Diego that also left Rabbi Yishoel Goldstein and two worshippers wounded.

Forty-five minutes before the afternoon funeral, people lined the sidewalk outside the temple, even as rain started to fall. A large screen had been set up to accommodate those who couldn’t fit inside.

Danielle Rugoff of San Diego, among those who watched on the screen along with her husband, said she didn’t know Kaye, but the attack still felt personal.

“I think there’s definitely a combination of, ‘It could’ve been me or anyone I know,’ which is terrifying, and that we have to rededicate and double our efforts to stop hate and violence and anti-Semitism and racism,” Rugoff said.

‘She saw everything’: Family of girl injured in Poway synagogue shooting: We fled violence in Israel. We thought it was safe here

Howard Kaye, a physician who briefly tended to his wife after the shooting before fainting, said she had erected a peace pole on their property. It says, “May peace prevail on Earth,” in five languages, he said.

Their daughter, 22-year-old Hannah, wore her mother’s pink dress as she stood on the lectern and recalled her mother, whom she described as, “my best friend, my greatest advocate and my dance partner.”

Hannah said her mother baked loaves of challah to celebrate Shabbat nearly every week. She often delivered loaves of the braided bread to people’s homes, and left them on people’s cars and inside mailboxes, her daughter said.

“Her light has reached all crevices of our planet,” Hannah said. 

The temple filled to capacity half an hour before the start of Monday’s service. Poway Mayor Steve Vaus and Oscar Stewart, a congregant being hailed as a hero for shouting away the gunman, led the full house in singing “God Bless America.”

Representatives from the U.S. and Israeli governments addressed the crowd. Also attending the funeral were California congressional members Scott Peters, Susan Davis and Duncan Hunter, state Sen. Brian Jones, rabbis from across the country and other faith leaders.

A gunman burst into Chabad of Poway on the last day of Passover, a major Jewish holiday that celebrates freedom, and opened fire with an assault-style rifle. About 100 congregants were worshipping at the time.

Witnesses said Kaye stepped in to protect Goldstein, who suffered injuries to both hands and lost his right index finger in the assault.

The rabbi, who described Kaye as a founding member of the congregation, said the attack could have harmed many more people had the shooter turned toward the sanctuary where so many were praying.

“Lori took the bullet for all of us,” Goldstein said, his hands wrapped in bandages. “She didn’t deserve to die.”

Friends described Kaye as giving, warm and attentive to community members on their birthdays and when they were sick.

Goldstein said he was preparing for a service Saturday and heard a loud sound, turned around and a saw a young man wearing sunglasses standing in front of him with a rifle. Fortunately, he couldn’t keep shooting.

“Miraculously, the gun jammed,” Goldstein said.

The AR-type assault weapon might have malfunctioned after the gunman fired several rounds, San Diego County Sheriff William Gore said. An off-duty Border Patrol agent fired at the shooter as he fled, missing him but striking the getaway vehicle, the sheriff said.

More: An ‘AR-type assault weapon’ was used in Poway synagogue shooting, police say. Was it legal in California?

Afterward, Goldstein said he wrapped his bloodied hands in a prayer shawl and addressed congregants outside, vowing to stay strong in the face of the deadly attack targeting his community.

“We are a Jewish nation that will stand tall,” Goldstein recalled telling the community. “We will not let anyone take us down. Terrorism like this will not take us down.”

Ortiz reported from San Francisco. Contributing: The Associated Press

 

 

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