‘Everyone was her sister’: Family, friends mourn woman gunned down in synagogue
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‘Everyone was her sister’: Family, friends mourn woman gunned down in synagogue

Israeli and US officials join hundreds of others at memorial and funeral service for Lori Gilbert-Kaye; daughter Hannah says her mother would have forgiven her killer

  • Pallbearers carry the casket of Poway synagogue shooting victim Lori Gilbert-Kaye during a graveside service on April 29, 2019, in San Diego, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP)
    Pallbearers carry the casket of Poway synagogue shooting victim Lori Gilbert-Kaye during a graveside service on April 29, 2019, in San Diego, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP)
  • Hannah Kaye, (C) the daughter of Poway Chabad shooting victim Lori Gilbert-Kaye, sits on the ground with her aunt, Randi Grossman, as the last shovels of dirt cover her mother's grave during funeral services, on April 29, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
    Hannah Kaye, (C) the daughter of Poway Chabad shooting victim Lori Gilbert-Kaye, sits on the ground with her aunt, Randi Grossman, as the last shovels of dirt cover her mother's grave during funeral services, on April 29, 2019, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
  • Congregants and other members of the public attend a funeral service at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue for Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who was killed in a shooting at the synagogue, in Poway, California, on April 29, 2019. (Sandy HUffaker/AFP)
    Congregants and other members of the public attend a funeral service at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue for Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who was killed in a shooting at the synagogue, in Poway, California, on April 29, 2019. (Sandy HUffaker/AFP)
  • Flowers and mementos are left outside the funeral for Lori Gilbert Kaye, who was killed inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue by a gunman who opened fire during services, on April 29, 2019 in Poway, California. The suspect will be arraigned tomorrow.   (Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP)
    Flowers and mementos are left outside the funeral for Lori Gilbert Kaye, who was killed inside the Chabad of Poway synagogue by a gunman who opened fire during services, on April 29, 2019 in Poway, California. The suspect will be arraigned tomorrow. (Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP)
  • Yishoel Goldstein, Rabbi of Chabad of Poway, holds a yellow rose as he speaks Monday, April 29, 2019, at the funeral for Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who is pictured at left, in Poway, California. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
    Yishoel Goldstein, Rabbi of Chabad of Poway, holds a yellow rose as he speaks Monday, April 29, 2019, at the funeral for Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who is pictured at left, in Poway, California. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
  • Members of the Jewish community and other mourners shovel dirt over the coffin during the burial service for Lori Gilbert Kaye, who was killed in the Chabad of Poway Synagogue shooting, at El Camino cemetery in San Diego, California, on April 29, 2019. - A rabbi who carried on preaching despite being wounded in the latest deadly shooting at a US synagogue said on April 28 that Jews would not be intimidated by the "senseless hate" of anti-semitism. (Photo by Sandy HUffaker / AFP)
    Members of the Jewish community and other mourners shovel dirt over the coffin during the burial service for Lori Gilbert Kaye, who was killed in the Chabad of Poway Synagogue shooting, at El Camino cemetery in San Diego, California, on April 29, 2019. - A rabbi who carried on preaching despite being wounded in the latest deadly shooting at a US synagogue said on April 28 that Jews would not be intimidated by the "senseless hate" of anti-semitism. (Photo by Sandy HUffaker / AFP)

California synagogue shooting victim Lori Gilbert-Kaye was laid to rest on Monday, with friends and family honoring a woman dedicated to spreading kindness and helping others.

Kaye’s daughter, Hannah, said at her memorial service that she knows her mother would have forgiven the man who took her life Saturday when he opened fire during Passover service at the Chabad of Poway, a suburban city north of San Diego.

The funeral and memorial service for Kaye, 60, drew hundreds of people, including the three people wounded in the attack, federal and state lawmakers, a US State Department envoy on anti-Semitism and a representative of the Israeli government, along with local city and police leaders.

Hannah, 22, said her mother would have relished seeing such a large crowd. She loved people, opening her home on Jewish holidays and making grand feasts.

Lori Gilbert-Kaye’s daugher, Hannah, speaks at her funeral, April 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Kaye was known to drive hours to visit a sick friend. She bought six months’ worth of medication for someone without insurance. She left her freshly baked challah in mail boxes and on doorsteps all over town and would buy extra bagels and coffee during her morning routine to be able to give them away, her family and friends said.

Her mission was to help others enjoy life, just as she did. She gave to numerous charities.

That’s why Kaye’s daughter Hannah said she knows in her heart that her mother has forgiven the 19-year-old man accused of killing her. She would have responded with love.

“Her light has reached all crevices of this planet,” Hannah Kaye said.

Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who was killed in a shooting at a San Diego County synagogue on April 27, 2019 (Facebook)

Hannah Kaye said she would miss singing in the car with her mother and dancing in the kitchen. She told her that she was her best friend.

“Everyone was her sister, everyone was her trusted confidante,” Hannah Kaye said. “Everyone was her friend.”

The synagogue’s rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, lost one of his fingers in the shooting and comforted worshipers with his hand wrapped in blue bandages. Eight-year-old Israeli girl Noya Dahan and her uncle, Almog Peretz, both suffered leg wounds in the attack but were released from the hospital and honored Kaye on Monday.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein told reporters after the attack that “Lori took the bullet for all of us,” noting that the gunman could have harmed many more people had he turned toward the sanctuary.

Pallbearers carry the casket of shooting victim Lori Gilbert-Kaye during a graveside service on April 29, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP)

“For those of us who know Lori, she is a person of unconditional love,” Goldstein said at her memorial on Monday.

“We saw the darkest of humanity,” he said. At the same time, he said, “we saw the heroic efforts of humanity.”

“It’s not going to break us,” Goldstein added. “It’s going to lift us up.”

The US State Department’s new envoy on anti-Semitism told the congregation that her death would not be in vain. He said the Trump administration is committed to fighting evil wherever it lurks.

“I’m here to say we are at war with these people,” Elan Carr said, vowing to fight anti-Semitism in “every city in the United States.”

Howard Kaye, the husband of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, pictured at left, speaks at her funeral on April 29, 2019, in Poway, California. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Kaye devoted her life to her Jewish faith and living its values of generosity and caring for others, her friends and family said. She kept a pole in their front yard with the words “May peace prevail on Earth” in several different languages, including Hebrew and Spanish.

“She had a soul that was greater than any of us ever could believe,” said her husband, Dr. Howard Kaye.

Dr. Kaye performed CPR on his wife after she was shot. He said she did not suffer.

“She went straight up,” he said.

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