POWAY, Calif. — When a gunman opened fire in a synagogue in California, killing one and injuring three others, Lori Kaye jumped between the shooter and the rabbi.
Kaye, 60, was shot at the synagogue and died at a nearby hospital. In addition to Kaye, at least three others were wounded in the shooting Saturday at Congregation Chabad in Poway, north of San Diego.
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, 57, had been shot in the hand when Kaye stepped between him and the gunman. The rabbi suffered what looked like defensive wounds to both of his index fingers, a doctor at the Palomar Medical Center said.
She was at the synagogue to say a prayer for her mother
Roneet Lev, a member of the congregation and Kaye’s friend of 25 years, was not at the synagogue but told CNN she rushed to the hospital when she heard about the shooting. As Goldstein was being wheeled into surgery, he told her how her friend saved his life, she said.
Kaye had attended services Saturday to say a Kaddish prayer for her mother, who died in November, Lev said.
Kaye’s husband is a physician and rushed to the scene to perform CPR after he heard about the shooting. When he realized his wife was a victim, he fainted, Lev said.
“She didn’t die a senseless death,” Lev said. “She died advertising the problem we have with anti-Semitism and to bring good to this world … If God put an angel on this planet, it would have been Lori.”
Kaye, a native of San Diego, leaves behind a husband and a 22-year-old daughter, Lev said.
The injured victims
Noya Dahan, 9
Noya was at the synagogue with her two sisters and was injured by shrapnel, her father said.
The girl was wounded in one leg and in the face, and was transferred to a children’s hospital. “We’re shocked, it’s a little bit scary. We’re all over the place,” Israel Dahan told CNN early Sunday.
The family moved from Israel eight years ago to live in a safer community after both he and his wife were injured by rockets.
“(We were) under the impression that everything is good here. Today we noticed this is not even close to be regular life,” Dahan said.
A few years ago, he said, their home was sprayed with Swastikas. Now his children don’t want to live in the United States, he said. After the shooting, he said, they asked him one question.
“Why we are staying here?”
Almog Peretz, 34
Almog Peretz is Dahan’s brother-in-law. He was injured by shrapnel while trying to protect his niece, the girl’s father said.
Peretz was visiting from Israel for Passover and was attending Saturday service with his family when the shooting happened, Lev said.
When Peretz saw the shooter aiming the rifle at children, he opened up the large doors, yelled for them to get out and helped bring the children to a nearby home to hide, Lev said.
Two of the children were missing for about 45 minutes after the shooting because they were still hiding, Lev said. Peretz told Lev if the shooter’s rifle didn’t jam, the children would have been shot.
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, 57
The 57-year-old rabbi will likely lose his right index finger after the shooting, the doctor said.
Congregation member Minoo Anvari, who said her husband witnessed the shooting, said the rabbi called for unity and prayed for peace even after getting shot.
“Rabbi said, ‘We are united,'” said Anvari, a refugee from Iran.
The shooting happened during a celebration for Passover, one of the holiest Jewish celebrations.