Poway shooting survivor rabbi gets a new finger

"Antisemitism is not a Jewish problem - this is a problem for the world and we need to recognize that," said Rabbi Goldstein in an address to the UN General Assembly.

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September 3, 2019 14:39
1 minute read.
Poway shooting survivor rabbi gets a new finger

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, injured in the recent shooting at the Congregation Chabad synagogue in Poway, California, speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during the "National Day of Prayer" Service in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington. (photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)

Five months after the fatal shooting attack on the Congregation Chabad synagogue in Poway, the congregation's rabbi, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein received a new prosthetic finger. Goldstein was fitted with a high definition silicone restoration, otherwise called a lifelike prosthesis, in an operation performed by Dr. Sam Heifetz.

Goldstein lost his finger while trying to save children in his synagogue from alleged gunman John Earnest on April 27, 2019.

The synagogue was full on the day of the shooting, the last day of Passover. One congregant, Lori Gilbert-Kaye, was killed and three others injured, including an 8-year-old girl whose family had move to California to escape rocket attacks in Sderot, Israel.

The attack was a jarring experience for Goldstein. “I did not know what it was,” Goldstein said in a phone interview with The Jerusalem Post. “I thought Mrs. Lori fell or a table fell. I turned around and I was face-to-face with the murderer-terrorist, who was holding a weapon and looking straight at me.”

Since the attack, Goldstein has spoken publicly about antisemitism and even met US President Donald Trump. In each appearance his hands were clearly bandaged. Thanks to Heifetz, Goldstein has a new finger.

“It was an honor to meet Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein of Chabad in Poway and help him restore his hand and function,” Heifetz told Baltimore Jewish Life. “His lost finger during the horrific attack in his synagogue is a physical reminder of hate but his counterattack of inner strength, trust in God and bringing good to the world sheds light over and over,” Heifetz continued.

Goldstein drove home the importance of learning from the attack in an address to the UN General Assembly:

"Antisemitism is not a Jewish problem - this is a problem for the world and we need to recognize that."

Maayan Hoffman contributed to this article.


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