Who Were Victims of the Squirrel Hill Shooting?
Many people have a different view of who was killed in the Squirrel Hill shooting. But the actual perpetrators of this horrific crime are not known for sure. In this article we’ll look at some of the individuals who were killed in this tragic incident. Here we’ll look at Cecil and David Rosenthal, Melvin Wax, Irving Younger, and Joyce Fienberg. We’ll also touch on the families and the friends of the victims.
The late 88-year-old congregant of the New Light Congregation in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood was the first to arrive and the last to leave. Despite his advanced age, he was an integral part of the congregation and filled nearly every role except for that of cantor. Mel Wax, also known as “Mel”, was a member of the Pittsburgh synagogue for nearly five decades and was one of its leaders.
The Squirrel Hill community will never be the same after the massacre, but it will continue to evolve and survive. Residents remember strolling the streets of Murray Avenue as children, playing video games, and gathering with friends “up street” at the intersection of Forbes and Murray avenues. The neighborhood’s community spirit is strong, and it will continue to thrive despite the tragedy. The victims will never be forgotten, and the enduring legacy of their community will live on.
Cecil and David Rosenthal
Cecil and David Rosenthal were regular faces at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. They sat in the back of the temple, greeting visitors as they arrived. They were both tall and gregarious but reserved and serious. They were brothers, and their death has left the community in mourning. Their death has also triggered a public discussion about racial bias and hate crimes.
In the days before the shooting, David and Cecil Rosenthal were often at Tree of Life, carrying Torahs. Their former boss, Barton Schachter, worked for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who paid tribute to the deceased brothers and other Pittsburgh residents. The two brothers were a part of the Pittsburgh community, and they never missed a Saturday service. ACHIEVA, a non-profit organization for people with disabilities, was established in their honor.
After the shooting in Squirrel Hill, Irv Younger became a regular at the Squirrel Cage Cafe. He was a graduate of Taylor Allderdice High School and owned a real estate business in the area. Irving Younger lived in Mount Washington. A friend of Younger’s, Ted Chernoff, worked at Coffee Tree Roasters and knew him. Chernoff and Younger had last seen each other a couple days before the shooting.
Mourners began to gather at the Rodef Shalom Temple in Oakland an hour before the funeral service. Some spoke softly, commenting on the sudden spring in the air. Others wore somber colors and stared in disbelief. Irving Younger was one of the eleven victims of the shooting, which left 11 dead and six wounded. The shooting has been charged as a hate crime.
One of the victims of the Squirrel Hill shooting was a member of the Carnegie Mellon community who was 75 years old. Joyce Fienberg worked in the department of statistics at CMU and was beloved by her community. She was shot by a gunman who entered the Tree of Life Synagogue and killed eleven people. Several of her close friends are attending her funeral.
Joyce Fienberg was a university researcher who spent most of her life at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center. She specialized in childhood development, and was devoted to her work. The shooting was particularly devastating to Fienberg’s family, which includes two sons who live in Washington and one in Paris. Her husband, Stephen, was an emeritus professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He died in December 2016, and she is survived by her two sons and several grandchildren.
Irving Younger was a realtor
Known for his calm demeanor and love of baseball, the real estate broker was a familiar face around the neighborhood. Born and raised in Squirrel Hill, Irving Younger was a graduate of Allderdice High School and owned Harris Realty on Murray Avenue for 35 years. His office was “super old-school,” his daughter said, and she said he loved working in real estate. Younger also coached youth baseball and football in the neighborhood and was a member of the church’s Tree of Life congregation.
In the months following the massacre, a memorial has been created for the victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting. In addition to his role as a greeter, Irving Younger was also a long-time rabbi at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Those who knew him will likely remember his warm demeanor and willingness to help those in need. The memorial is dedicated to Younger, who was a popular member of his community and very active in many of its functions.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.