Lori Gilbert-Kaye, the worshiper shot and killed while attending Passover service at Chabad of Poway, was remembered Monday as a loving, giving woman by her husband, her daughter, friends and members of her congregation.
Kaye was described by one friend as a pillar of San Diego's Jewish community. The 60-year-old was attending Saturday's service to pay tribute to her late mother with a traditional prayer for the dead when she was confronted by a gunman.
Kaye was standing in the lobby of the temple just before 11:30 a.m. when she stepped between Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein and a man who fired several shots from what police described as a rifle.
Her husband, Howard Kaye, M.D., a doctor with Scripps Coastal Medical Center Cedar-Vista told the congregation that he performed CPR on his wife and that she died quickly.
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"She did not suffer," he said reassuringly.
He spoke of Saturday's attack and described the gunman as "lower than an animal" who was likely raised on a diet of blood and gore.
The accused 19-year-old gunman's family hours earlier on Monday condemned the shooting in a statement, saying their son was raised in "a family, a faith, and a community that all rejected hate," and that he is now part of a "history of evil."
At one point, Kaye admitted that his thoughts were coming to him so quickly he was having trouble organizing them but he wanted to share the story of a peace pole his wife had erected at their home. The pole had the message "Peace prevail on Earth" written in five different languages.
“My wife was a person. Is a person who did so much good in her life,” he told the congregation. “Whatever good she did always turned out. And whatever I did that might not have been good, she repaired and made me look good.”
Hannah Kaye said she chose to wear a pink dress because she said her mother was a rainbow, her greatest advocate and her dancing partner.
“Our story was, is and will forever continue to be nothing short of extraordinary and remarkable,” she said.
"My mother gave me every opportunity I could have dreamed of. All of who I am today is a result from the experiences we had together."
[SD] Aftermath of the Poway Synagogue Shooting
Kaye was credited with playing a key role in building the synagogue in the suburban city of Poway, approximately 22 miles north of downtown San Diego.
The president of the synagogue described the temple as "ground zero."
"The very place where an anti-Semitic terrorist came to tear us down," Sam Hoffman said. "We've now come together to build our community back up."
A friend recalled how Kaye always had a gift to give a friend or loved one.
"Lori died on Shabbat. Lori died on Passover. Lori died in a synagogue. And Lori died saving our Rabbi," her friend said.
Rabbi Yonah Fradkin said that Kaye would want to be positive in the face of hate.
“There was one sacrifice chosen and that was the purest and most beautiful person that we had in the congregation. The person that cared for everyone. The person that loved everyone. The person that was the strength and the pillar when anyone had a problem. Lori would be the first one to come forward and say, ‘How can I help you,’” Fradkin said to the congregation.
"May we go out and help and do more and share kindness and not let terror destroy us in any way shape or form," he said.
At the end of the service, Rabbi Goldstein said the congregation would continue to work to make the world a better place and will continue to hold services in the face of danger like the one that visited the temple on Saturday.
“We don’t go down for one moment. We don’t allow anyone – no terrorist, no murderer, no evil – to shut us down," Goldstein said.