Howard Kaye holds his daughter Hannah Jacqueline Kaye at the funeral for Lori Gilbert-Kaye, the sole fatality of the Saturday shooting at Congregation Chabad synagogue in Poway, north of San Diego, California..
(photo credit: JOHN GASTALDO/REUTERS)
A standing-room-only crowd of about 700 came to the funeral service at Chabad of Poway synagogue on Monday for Lori Gilbert-Kaye, the 60-year-old congregant murdered on Saturday during an attack on the house of prayer north of San Diego that also left Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein and two worshipers wounded.
Witnesses said that Gilbert-Kaye, jumped in front of the congregation’s rabbi as John Earnest, 19, opened fire.
Three congregants, including Rabbi Goldstein, an eight-year-old girl and her 31-year-old uncle were also wounded in the shooting.
Gilbert-Kaye’s husband, Dr. Howard Kaye, recalled how his “wife was a person who did so much good in her life. Whatever I did that might not have been good, she repaired. She had a soul that was greater than any of us ever could believe.”
The physician recalled how he performed CPR on his wife after she took the bullet. “There was no blood,” he said. “She went very quickly. And she did not suffer. She went straight up” to heaven.
He had a strong message for his wife’s murderer, calling on him to turn his life around, “come back to the real world, which is the world of Lori, which is peace and love on Earth.”
Wearing a pink dress that had belonged to Gilbert-Kaye, her daughter, Hannah, 22, told mourners that her mother “was my best friend, my greatest advocate and my dance partner. Her relationships are one of the things that made her most proud. My mother raised me to become like her, to be a woman who embraces all people, gives to all people, loves all people. My mother thrived and lived her entire life for the sake of friendship, to give flowers to people all over San Diego and from the world, to bask in the glory of connection, of story, of history.”
She recalled how her mother baked challot every Shabbat and delivered the loaves to people’s homes. The family’s home was always open to visitors to celebrate the Sabbath, she said.
She added that her mother’s light “reached all crevices of our planet” and that she knew that “Judaism went beyond the text.”
Following the eulogies from Gilbert-Kaye’s family, Goldstein, his hands heavily bandaged from gunshot wounds, addressed the mourners, saying: “[on Saturday] we saw the darkest of humanity... [but] at the same time we saw the heroic efforts of humanity.”
“It’s not going to break us,” he said. “It’s going to lift us up.”
At the graveside in San Diego, Goldstein added that Gilbert-Kaye was “following the footsteps of great martyrs of all history.”
“Your life was sacrificed,” he said. “My life was spared. I promise, Lori, it wasn’t in vain.”
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