Woman protected rabbi in synagogue shooting | News Coverage from USA

Woman protected rabbi in synagogue shooting

The woman killed during Saturday’s San Diego synagogue shooting stepped in front of the bullets aimed at her longtime friend and rabbi as he gave his sermon, according to her friends and authorities.

Authorities said Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was killed at Chabad of Poway when a nursing student opened fire with an AR-style rifle. Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein suffered defensive wounds to his hands but survived the attack and insisted on finishing his sermon before going to the hospital, Audrey Jacobs, a friend, said in a Facebook post.

Gilbert-Kaye leaves behind a husband and adult daughter.

“Your final good deed was taking the bullets for Rabbi Mendel Goldstein to save his life,” Jacobs wrote in a post she said had been approved by the other victims and their families. “Tragically the rabbi was still shot in the hand and he gave a sermon telling everyone to stay strong.”

Gilbert-Kaye’s husband, a doctor, was with her at the synagogue and rushed to help the victims, not knowing one was his wife, Dr. Roneet Lev, a family friend, told the San Diego Union Tribune.  

“God picked her to die to send a message because she’s such an incredible person,” Lev, who is the director of emergency medicine at San Diego-based Scripps Mercy Hospital, told the Union Tribune. “He took her for a higher purpose to send this message to fight anti-Semitism.”

Goldstein was in the middle of his sermon when he heard loud noises and became “face-to-face with this murderer, this terrorist” when he turned around, he said during a phone interview Sunday on “Today.” Goldstein said he put his hands up to protect himself and lost one of his fingers in the shooting.

Also injured in the shooting were Noya Dahan, 8, and her uncle, Almog Peretz, 34, who was visiting from Israel, authorities said.

More: What we know about the California synagogue shooting

Israel’s minister of diaspora affairs, Naftali Bennett, on Sunday morning called Gilbert-Kaye a hero, the Jewish Press reported: “She sacrificed her own life, throwing herself in the path of the murderer’s bullets to save the life of the Rabbi. But it is clear that such heroism and good deeds are not only characteristic of dear Lori in death, but this is the way she lived her life – at the heart of her community, constantly doing charity and good deeds for those in need.”

And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for an end to anti-Semitism. “I condemn the abhorrent attack on a synagogue in California; this is an attack on the heart of the Jewish people,” he posted on Twitter. “We send condolences to the family of Lori Gilbert-Kaye and our best wishes for a quick recovery to the wounded.”

More: ‘Face to face with this murderer’: Security boosted at mosques, synagogues after shooting; rabbi recalls terror

Witnesses said it appeared the shooter’s gun jammed during the attack. An off-duty Border Patrol agent attending services shot at the suspect as he fled, hitting his car. The suspect surrendered to police nearby.

“Anti-Semitism is real and is deadly. Hate crimes are real and are deadly. Lori would have wanted all of us to stand up to hate. She was a warrior of love and she will be missed,” Jacobs posted. “May Lori’s memory be a blessing.”

 

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