A woman who threw herself in front of her rabbi to protect him from a gunman’s bullets has been remembered as a generous, vivacious and devout Jewish woman during an emotional funeral service – as the suspect was formally charged over the synagogue shooting.
Lori Kaye’s heroic move to the shield her rabbi epitomized the life she led, her family and friends said on Monday as they remembered how the 60-year-old was dedicated to spreading kindness and helping others no matter what.
Kaye’s daughter, Hannah, said at the emotional memorial service that she knows her mother would already have forgiven the man who took her life on Saturday.
John Earnest, 19, burst into the Chabad of Poway synagogue, near San Diego, on Saturday and opened fire with an assault rifle during Passover service.
Hannah Kaye, the daugher of shooting victim Lori Kaye, sits on the floor as the last shovels of dirt cover her mother’s grave during a funeral service in San Diego on Monday
Members of the Kaye family, including her daughter Hannah (center) and husband Howard (second from left) broke down as the 60-year-old was laid to rest just days after being gunned down in the synagogue shooting
Kaye heroically saved Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein when she jumped in front of the gunman on Saturday. The wounded rabbi spoke to mourners on Monday as her the coffin was lowered into the ground
He was formally charged on Monday with murder and attempted murder, with hate crime allegations, and was set to be arraigned on Tuesday. Authorities have also charged him with arson in connection to the fire last month at an Escondido mosque.
The memorial service for Kaye drew hundreds, including the three people wounded in the attack, federal and state lawmakers, a U.S. State Department envoy on anti-Semitism and a representative of the Israeli government, along with local city and police leaders.
Hannah said her mother would have loved to have seen such a large crowd so she could greet them all. She loved people, opening her home on every major Jewish holiday and making grand feasts.
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 was known to 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 make others enjoy life, just as she did. She gave to scores of 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.
The 60-year-old died when John Earnest, 19, burst into the Chabad of Poway synagogue, near San Diego, on Saturday and opened fire with an assault rifle during Passover service
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein speaks in front of the Kaye’s casket as her grieving daughter and husband watch on
Emotional congregants watched the funeral service from afar on Monday due to large crowds
Kaye’s daughter Hannah said her mother would have loved to have seen such a large crowd so she could greet them all. She loved people, opening her home on every major Jewish holiday and making grand feasts
Hannah held her father’s hand during the emotional service on Monday. She said she told her mother before she died that she was her best friend
‘Her light has reached all crevices of this planet,’ Hannah said.
Hannah said she would miss singing in the car with her mother and dancing in the kitchen. She told her before she died that she was her best friend.
‘Everyone was her sister, everyone was her trusted confidante,’ Hannah said. ‘Everyone was her friend.’
The synagogue’s rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, lost one of his fingers in the shooting and comforted worshippers with his hand wrapped in blue bandages.
Noya Dahan, 8, and her uncle Almog Peretz both suffered leg wounds in the attack but were released from the hospital and honored Kaye on Monday.
The U.S. State Department’s new envoy on anti-Semitism told the congregation that her death will 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.’
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.
Kaye’s daughter, Hannah, said at the emotional memorial service that she knows her mother would already have forgiven the man who took her life on Saturday
Her husband, Dr. Howard Kaye said: ‘She had a soul that was greater than any of us ever could believe’
The synagogue’s rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, lost one of his fingers in the shooting and comforted worshippers with his hand wrapped in blue bandages. Elan Carr, the U.S. State Department’s new envoy on anti-Semitism, told the congregation that her death will not be in vain
‘She had a soul that was greater than any of us ever could believe,’ said her husband, Dr. Howard Kaye.
Dr Kaye fainted when he realized the person he was trying to resuscitate after the shooting was his wife. He said she did not suffer and ‘she went straight up’.
Earnest’s attack on Saturday took place six months to the day after a white supremacist shot dead 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue – the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history.
‘We are shocked and deeply saddened by the terrible attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue,’ his parents said in a statement released by their attorney.
‘But our sadness pales in comparison to the grief and anguish our son has caused for so many innocent people. He has killed and injured the faithful who were gathered in a sacred place on a sacred day.
‘To our great shame, he is now part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries.
‘Our son’s actions were informed by people we do not know, and ideas we do not hold.
‘Like our other five children, he was raised in a family, a faith and a community that all rejected hate and taught that love must be the motive for everything we do.’
They described their son’s motivations as ‘a terrifying mystery’ and said they were helping police uncover what had led to ‘this evil and despicable act.’
Prior to the attack Earnest had published an anti-Semitic screed online in which he said Adolf Hitler was among those that inspire him and claimed responsibility for an arson attack against a mosque in the area weeks earlier.
Mourners watch a video broadcast in the overflow section at the funeral on Monday due to large crowds