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Bedford family mourns brother lost in synagogue massacre



LOWELL – A Bedford family was horrified in the early morning that a synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a loved one was worshiped, was the target of a massacre.

But it did not take several hours in fear to wait for them to be told that her beloved family member was killed among the 11.

Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood, Pennsylvania, the brother of Bedford resident Bill Rabinowitz, was gunned down on the Saturday morning attack on the Tree of Life synagogue, confirmed John Gibbons, senior minister of First Parish in Bedford, on Sunday. Bill, along with his wife Chris and sons Jacob and Eliot Rabinowitz, are parishioners in First Parish.

"It was the most terrible day yesterday," said Gibbons, who was with the family when they learned of the tragedy [1

96592002]. Gibbons pointed out that the Rabinowitz family was on their way to Pittsburgh on Sunday to attend Worship services.

Attempts to reach the family were not answered immediately. Gibbons had known that Jerry and his wife Mari Rabinowitz had managed family weddings. He described the 66-year-old as a "beloved family doctor".

Jerry and Mari had no children, but Gibbons pointed out that Bill's sons were Jerry's "honor children."

In an Associated Press report Sunday, Jerry is described as a "trusted confidant" and "healer".

"He's one of the best people I've ever met," Dr. Kenneth Ciesilka in the article.

Ciesielka served as Jerry's partner in his doctor's office at UPMC Shadyside in Pittsburgh.

"We've been together for over 30 years in practice and friends longer than that," said Ciesielka. "His patients will miss him terribly, his family will miss him terribly and I'll miss him, he was just one of the friendliest, finest people."

Gibbons said the attack reinforced the need to crack down on gun violence.

"That's gone way too long," he said. "We can not remain silent."

"We are shocked when it concerns people we know, but on the other hand, why should it be that way?" Gibbons added. "It affects all of us, we are all responsible and we are all responsible for ending armed violence."

The tragedy occurred when the First Church was preparing for several anti-violence events. You will remember all those who died at their annual Day of the Dead in their memorial garden at 19 o'clock. Thursday

The Bedford Jewish Community and Interfaith Clergy Network also hold their annual event commemorating Kristallnacht, the "Night of Broken Glass," a forerunner of the Holocaust, when Nazi thugs burned down synagogues and destroyed Jewish homes in Germany in November 1938. The ceremony will be held on November 8 at 7 pm at the Town Common in Bedford.

"Today's events are terrible and we remember Jerry Rabinowitz," Gibbons said in a letter published in The Bedford Citizen. "We must renew our efforts to end senseless hatred, bigotry and violence."

Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis; acurtis@lowellsun.com


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