(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)
Pittsburgh bid farewell Friday to 97-year-old Rose Mallinger, the oldest person killed in America’s worst anti-Semitic attack in history and the last of the 11 victims to be laid to rest.
Mallinger was shot dead by a gunman who reportedly yelled “All Jews must die” after bursting into the Tree of Life synagogue during Shabbat services last Friday. Her daughter, Andrea Wedner, 61, was shot and wounded.
Wedner attended Friday’s funeral with a nurse, said Rabbi Aaron Bisno. She has been hospitalized since the massacre Saturday.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald were among the many hundreds who attended Mallinger’s funeral.
“I’ve known Rose a long time, and it was always going to be that she was so vibrant and bright and sharp-witted that she would live past 100,” said Michelle Organist, who also knows Wedner. “You knew something was going to take her eventually, but it wasn’t going to be gun violence.”
Born in 1921, Mallinger may have been just three years shy of 100, but for the former school secretary, “age was truly just a number,” her family said.
“She retained her sharp wit, humor and intelligence until the very last day,” they said in a statement. “No matter what obstacles she faced, she never complained. She did everything she wanted to do in her life.”
She was a devoted member of Tree of Life in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, a center of Jewish life in Pittsburgh and home to a thriving, liberal and diverse community.
“Her involvement with the synagogue went beyond the Jewish religion… It was her place to be social, to be active and to meet family and friends,” said her family.
A mother of three, Mallinger had five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. “She loved us and knew us better than we knew ourselves,” the family added.
Pittsburgh has been holding funerals since Tuesday for those killed in the attack. A 46-year-old gunman, who was injured in a shootout with police, has been charged with crimes that could see him sentenced to death.
On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania visited Tree of Life to pay their respects to the victims.
Around 1,500 people took to the streets to protest against the visit, holding Trump at least partly responsibility for the shooting through his inflammatory language and demanding that he renounce white nationalism.
AP contributed to this report