The eight-year-old girl who was wounded in Saturday’s shooting at a synagogue outside San Diego described the horrific moments when she witnessed her rabbi being shot.
‘We were in shul (synagogue) like normal weekends and we were praying,’ Noya Dahan told Israel’s Channel 13 on Sunday.
‘And then the kids were playing.
‘I don’t remember what I got from inside but I had to get something and then I heard someone shooting and, like, I saw the rabbi and he was jumping crazy and he was getting hurt really bad.’
Noya Dahan, 8, was wounded in the leg and face by shrapnel during Saturday’s shooting at a synagogue just outside of San Diego
Dahan was injured in the leg and face by shrapnel at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Southern California on Saturday morning, the last day of Passover.
‘In the first place when it was gushing blood, I didn’t even feel it,’ she told CNN.
‘And then after they wiped it and the blood was off it felt like I had the giantest bruise ever.
‘It was just hurting bad.’
Dahan said that the shooting has shattered her sense of security in a synagogue, where she says she has always felt safe.
‘I never thought that was going to happen to me because like it’s a safe place, you’re supposed to feel safe,’ she told ABC News.
The rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, 57, suffered what appeared to be defensive wounds to both of his index fingers, and will likely lose his right index finger, according to medical officials at Palomar Medical Center.
The third victim who was wounded, Almog Peretz, is Noya’s uncle.
Peretz, 34, was hit by shrapnel as he was trying to protect his niece. He was visiting from Israel for Passover and attended the service with some friends.
‘I turn around and I saw him and the gun, the big gun,’ Peretz said, recalling how he encountered the gunman while walking from the synagogue’s banquet hall.
‘He looks at me and he shoots one after one.’
Peretz said he picked up a five-year-old girl walking next to him, lifted another child in his arms, and directed some 20 kids out through a side door and toward a rabbi’s house next door.
Dahan says she witnessed the rabbi being shot by the gunman during the attack. She was released from the hospital (right) on Sunday
Injured: Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, 57, (left) was shot in the hand and will likely lose his right index finger. Almog Peretz, 34, (right) was visiting family in the area for the Passover holiday from Israel. He is listed in stable condition
Peretz saw the gunman point his rifle towards the children and then opened the doors of the congregation, yelling for the kids to get out and helped bring them to a nearby home to hide.
He said he did not realize he had been shot in the leg until someone noticed blood on his pant leg.
Many lives were saved in the shooting because the gunman’s rifle jammed, according to congregation member Roneet Lev.
One woman, Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, of Poway, was killed. She lost her life when she was protecting the rabbi by jumping in between him and the shooter, 19-year-old John T. Earnest.
She was an active member of the congregation and had attended the Passover service to say a Kaddish prayer for her mother who passed away in November. She was the only fatal victim in the shooting.
‘She’s been a member with us since the ’90s,’ Goldstein said of Kaye.
‘She’s one of the most kindest persons, an activist, who’s always there to help others, to help the world.
‘That was her mission in life, just to be out, to do kindness and goodness.’
Goldstein said that Kaye was making preparations to say a prayer for her recently departed mother.
‘She asked me what time Yizkor was,’ he said of a special pray for the departed.
‘Her mother just recently died and she came to memorialize her.’
Goldstein then stepped away to his office to freshen up. When he returned, Kaye told him she had figured out on her own what time the prayer was supposed to be uttered.
‘We both looked and smiled at each other,’ the rabbi said.
‘I turned around to walk into the banquet hall, where I was going to wash my hands, and I heard the first loud noise.’
Goldstein initially thought that Kaye either fell or a table had toppled over.
‘I turned around and I see the shooter standing there in position with a rifle moving it towards me,’ Goldstein said.
The rabbi says he put his hands in front of his face to protect himself. The gunman fired a round which ripped off his right index finger.
A second bullet almost pierced his left index finger.
Goldstein saw Kaye lying mortally wounded on the floor while bullets whizzed by him. It was a miracle he was not killed.
‘I was centimeters from death,’ Goldstein said.
‘I turn my back towards him and he’s shooting bullets towards me, trying to get me down in the banquet hall.’
‘She didn’t die a senseless death,’ Lev told CNN when asked about Kaye.
California mother Lori Kaye, 60, died while trying to protect her rabbi on Saturday when a gunman stormed into Congregation Chabad in Poway, California during a Passover service
The gunman had shot Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, 57, her friend of 25 years, in the hand when she stepped in between them and was shot herself. Kaye was the only fatal victim in the attack. Pictured above with Rabbi Goldstein
‘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.’
Rabbi Goldstein hailed Lori as ‘the ultimate woman of kindness’ after she saved his life.
‘Lori and I have known each other for over 25 years. She was one of the pioneering members of our congregation. She is not just a member, she’s an activist. She personified ultimate of kindness and generosity,’ he said Saturday night to CNN’s Brisn Stelter.
‘She’s one of those people who are always there to be able to help others in their time of need. When people are diagnosed with cancer, she would be dragging them to appointments and would bring flowers to cheer people up and bake Shabbat challah just to bring the family some happiness.
Gunman: John T. Earnest, 19, was taken into custody without incident on Saturday after he opened fire at the synagogue, killing one and injuring three others before he fled the scene
‘She was the ultimate woman of kindness and it’s unfathomable, why this beautiful, beautiful, wonderful human being would be shot down,’ he added.
Kaye is from San Diego and leaves behind her husband and 22-year-old daughter.
‘We’re shocked, it’s a little bit scary. We’re all over the place,’ Noya’s father, Israel Dahan, said early Sunday.
The family had moved from Israel eight years ago in search of a safer life after Israel and his wife were injured by rockets.
‘(We were) under the impression that everything is good here. Today we noticed his is not even close to be regular life,’ Dahan said.
In 2015, the Dahan family home in San Diego was spray painted with swastikas. Israel Dahan, Noya’s father, is seen above in April 2015
The Dahan family had a previous run-in with anti-Semitism in 2015, when someone spray painted swastikas on their property during the Passover holiday.
At around 11pm, the power went out at their home in the Mira Mesa section of San Diego on April 5, 2015, according to KSWB-TV.
Israel Dahan then went to the circuit breaker to restore power to the home.
He then noticed that while the power was out, somebody spray painted large red swastikas on his garage door and the hood of his truck.
‘But that’s life,’ Dahan said, recalling the swastika incident and how he had briefly locked eyes with the synagogue assailant.
Dahan, speaking on Israel Radio on Sunday, said his family was no stranger to violence, having lived in Israel in Sderot, a town on the Gaza border that has been a frequent target of Palestinian rocket attacks.
‘We came from fire to fire,’ he said.
‘We left Sderot because of the shelling. My house was hit several times. My mother’s house, my mother-in-law’s house were hit several times.
‘I was also wounded several times … we wanted to move far away.’
Asked whether he regretted their move from Israel, he said: ‘No. We love America…It can happen anywhere – in any mall, and in any hospital and in any family gathering and in any place.
‘We are strong. We were born to be strong.’