They buried the Rosenthal brothers, David and Cecil, who were “innocent, pure souls” and “gentle giants” with no ill will, their kin said.
There will be additional services Wednesday and Thursday.
The victims cared
People who knew the men said they were caring.
“Anything you wanted done, Jerry was there to do it. (He) always helped out,” said Jean Clickner, who knew Rabinowitz for decades.
Her smile grew as she thought of him.
“He’s so big. I mean, he’s a little guy, and he’s bigger than life,” she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Not far away, at Rodef Shalom Congregation, hundreds of people lined up for the visitation for the brothers.
The beloved football team that represents this hard-working city, the NFL’s Steelers, was there, 100 strong with players and staff past and present. Even Franco Harris, a hero of the 1970s, was there to pay respect.
At the funerals, the room was so packed, people lined the walls. They heard a sister and brother-in-law talk about how David and Cecil Rosenthal loved their synagogue and loved spending time at the Jewish Community Center. The Rosenthal brothers had mental disabilities and could neither read nor write, but were remembered as being quick to crack jokes.
Rocks and roses
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump came to Pittsburgh to pay respects. Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who are Jewish, accompanied them to the synagogue.
It was a controversial visit for some as politicians and some city residents had wanted the President to stay away until the Tree of Life congregation had had time to bury all the dead.
Outside, the Trumps participated in the Jewish custom of placing stones for the dead. Their stones came from the White House, and the first couple also placed white roses at each of the stars for the dead.
Though protesters could not be seen by people at the synagogue, several thousand demonstrators were marching nearby and could be heard.
Many are neighbors in the close-knit community of Squirrel Hill and they were unhappy with the President. They held signs saying, “Words Matter,” “Strength through Unity,” “Watch Your Words,” and “Hate does not work in our Neighborhoods.”
Protesters denounce Trump’s Pittsburgh visit
There were people who weren’t against the President’s visit.
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, who was leading a service at Tree of Life when the shooting began, said Monday that “the President of the United States is always welcome.” He greeted the President and first lady on Tuesday at the synagogue and told them about the horrific events of the day and the 11 worshippers who were killed.
The Trumps also went to a hospital where they visited with the police officers who were wounded, the widow of one of the victims, and others.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders said the wife of Richard Gottfried, who was killed, wanted Trump to know there were people wanted him there.
The President wanted to be there to pay his respects on behalf of the country, Sanders said.
The shooting has struck at the heart of Pittsburgh’s historically Jewish Squirrel Hill neighborhood and reverberated across the nation as people have banded together to comfort one another and stare down hatred.
Myers has said his congregants would be unbowed.
“We are Tree of Life and, as I said before to many, you can cut off some of the branches from our tree, but Tree of Life has been in Pittsburgh for 154 years. We’re not going anywhere,” he said on CNN’s “New Day.” “We will be back stronger and better than ever.”
Support for those directly impacted has swelled in the massacre’s wake. An online fundraiser for the synagogue had raised more than $900,000 toward its $1 million goal by Tuesday evening.
Outreach efforts also have extended to first responders. Those injured in the shooting include police officers, two of whom remain hospitalized.
Suspect Robert Bowers faces 29 federal charges, including counts of hate crimes that are potentially punishable by death. He made his first court appearance Monday.
Bowers was detained without bond. His next court date is Thursday.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said state charges will be filed later.
“While we are confident that we can move forward with our prosecution, as a practical matter, the circumstances indicate that it is prudent to allow this case to proceed at the federal level at this time,” he said, adding that the shootings are “clearly a capital case.”
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