Rose Mallinger likely knew every person at the Life Congregation Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill. At 97, she attended synagogue there every week with her daughter and was beloved by other members of the congregation.
Mallinger was among the 11 people killed on Saturday when a gunman burst into the synagogue, shouting anti-Semitic slurs and opening fire on people gathered there. Officials released the names of the victims on Sunday, including the 97-year-old woman. As CNN reported, Mallinger was a resident of the Squirrel Hill neighborhood where the shooting took place, and was described by fellow congregant Robin Friedman as the “sweetest, lovely lady.”
The shooting has drawn reactions from across the country and has also sparked debate over gun control. Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh’s mayor, rose the idea of restricting guns for those who have expressed violent or irrational behavior.
“I think the approach that we need to be looking at is how we take the guns, which is the common denominator of every mass shooting in America, out of the hands of those that are looking to express hatred through murder,” Peduto said (via USA Today).
My condolences go out to the victims and their families. Hate groups have no place in our communities. We must do better to hold accountable those elected officials who promote these groups and individuals. https://t.co/XxuEc6ugUQ
— Andrew Janz (@JanzforCongress) October 28, 2018
The shooting was considered the most deadly attack on Jews in the history of the United States, historian Gary Zola told USA Today. Zola said the only other attack to a large scale came in 1960, when someone threw an explosive device into a synagogue in Alabama and then opened fire on congregants as they fled. Two were shot, but neither were killed, and the bomb did not detonate.
The Anti-Defamation League, which fights anti-Semitism across the world, also gave a sobering perspective to the attack on Saturday.
“This is likely the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States,” agency CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in the statement.
After the shocking attack, attention has turned on Sunday to remember the victims. Authorities on Sunday released the names and ages of those killed, USA Today reported, a list that included mostly older congregants.
- Joyce Fienberg, 75
- Richard Gottfried,65
- Jerry Rabinowitz, 66
- Cecil Rosenthal, 59
- David Rosenthal, 54
- Bernice Simon, 84
- Sylvan Simon, 86
- Daniel Stein, 71
- Melvin Waxn, 88
- Rose Malinger, 97
- Irving Younger, 69
As the oldest victim, Rose Mallinger has gained attention nationwide. Friedman said that Mallinger attended synagogue regularly with her daughter and had gotten to know nearly all of the other congregants. Though she was nearly 100, Friedman said Mallinger showed little signs of slowing.
“She had a lot of years left,” he said.