News reports confirmed this weekend that the woman killed in the shooting at Chabad of Poway, a synagogue based in Poway, Calif., was Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, a promotional products industry professional for Pro Specialties Group Inc.
A story published Sunday in USA Today painted a picture of Gilbert-Kaye heroically defending the synagogue's rabbi as he helped evacuate children from the building.
USA Today reports:
Kaye was killed at Chabad of Poway when a nursing student who apparently espoused anti-Semitic beliefs opened fire with an AR-style rifle. Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Kaye's friend of 30 years, suffered defensive wounds to his hands but survived the attack.
Gilbert-Kaye's friend, Roneet Lev, told reporters what happened from her perspective that day, too.
"The rabbi told me as he was being rolled into the OR, 'Let everyone know that Lori stepped in and saved my life,'" Lev said. "Tell everybody that I was a target."
Another friend, Audrey Jacobs, paid tribute to Gilbert-Kaye.
"Your final good deed was taking the bullets for Rabbi Mendel Goldstein to save his life," Jacobs wrote. "Tragically, the rabbi was still shot in the hand and he gave a sermon telling everyone to stay strong."
Lori Gilbert-Kaye is her name. “She sacrificed her own life, throwing herself in the path of the murderer’s bullets to save the life of the rabbi.” https://t.co/jZA1NepEsJ
— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) April 28, 2019
Gilbert-Kaye had been in the synagogue on Saturday to say a Kaddish prayer for her mother, who passed away in November.
"She died a sacred death," Lev told USA Today. "She died on the Sabbath. She died on Passover. She died in the synagogue. She died saving the rabbi's life."
"If there's anybody in need, she's the first one to step forward and say, 'I can help,'" longtime friend Michelle Silverman told USA Today. "I felt like she was my third sister. It wasn't just a friendship. It was a sisterhood."
Her colleagues at Pro Specialties Group Inc. paid their respects, too.
"Her tragic passing leaves a void in my heart," PSG's Dava Dayan told USA Today. "I am forever grateful that she was part of my life. Our world will not be the same without her."
Naftali Bennett, Israel's minister of diaspora affairs, released a public statement praising her heroic actions.
"She sacrificed her own life, throwing herself in the path of the murderer's bullets to save the life of the rabbi," Bennett said. "But it is clear that such heroism and good deeds are not only characteristic of dear Lori in death, but this is the way she lived her life—at the heart of her community, constantly doing charity and good deeds for those in need."
Gilbert-Kaye is survived by her husband and daughter.