POWAY, Calif. — One year after a gunman opened fire inside the Chabad Of Poway, a rabbi led a pre-taped tribute to the woman who was killed during the attack and others who were injured.
Rabbi Mendel Goldstein, son of Rabbi Rabbi Mendel Goldstein — the congregation’s rabbi at the time — led the 40-minute online remembrance that included tributes to Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, and a message to persevere in the face of hardship.
Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was a longtime member of the congregation. She was shot twice and fatally wounded in the entrance of the synagogue while trying to shield Yisroel Goldstein. The shooting happened on the last day of Passover.
“We know our focus is on the future and becoming better people and better Jews — reading learning and spreading kindness, just as Lori would do,” Mendel Goldstein said.
The ceremony was conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and livestreamed to Chabad’s website.
Mendel Goldstein said he and his three children were also present in the synagogue last April 27. His father lost a finger in the shooting and two other congregants — Almog Peretz and his niece, Noya Dahan — were also injured.
Speakers included Kaye’s husband, Dr. Howard Kaye, who said his wife “was a beautiful person” with a giving nature.
“The great thing about Lori she took every kindness and amped it to a very high level,” Kaye said. “She helped all people for all religions. She was the true universal yid to everyone.”
She was a regular presence at Jewish funerals over the past two decades, where she comforted grieving families and paid tribute to those who didn’t have mourners. She was at the temple with her husband and daughter to honor her mother, who had recently died, when she was shot twice in the synagogue’s foyer.
The city of Poway renamed one of its streets after Kaye, christening it Lori Lynn Lane last December.
“That’s who Lori was,” her husband said. “It’s been a difficult year. We miss Lori quite a lot, but there’s also many family members and friends and the community who also miss Lori and were very hurt by this. It’s been a very, very challenging time.”
The widower said his faith allowed him “to be able to take the high road even though one would think that a disaster had hit me. But taking the high road is a much better way to go, and I want all of us to also consider that.”
The suspected shooter, John T. Earnest, allegedly expressed anti- Semitic views in an online manifesto published shortly before the shooting.
Earnest, 20, of Rancho Penasquitos, remains jailed without bail on charges that include murder, attempted murder and hate crime allegations. The former Cal State San Marcos nursing student faces both state and federal prosecution, with state prosecutors announcing in early March that they would seek the death penalty against him.
He also faces arson charges for allegedly setting fire to an Escondido mosque about a month prior to the Chabad of Poway shooting.