Tree of Life Synagogue Victims Remembered as Guardians of Their Faith

10/29/2018 U.S.

“I’ve said this many times, having nothing to do with this tragedy: You can feel what is good in the world when you talk to them, because they only talk to you about good things,” Mr. Solomon said. “To say that everyone in the Pittsburgh Jewish community knows them is not even a remote exaggeration. They were both active participants in so much of life.”

Melvin Wax.

Mr. Solomon said he grew up in the community with the brothers, who were together constantly and often spoke joyfully about their extended family.

“Today we talk about inclusion, but they were just part of the community, and I didn’t think anything about it,” Mr. Solomon said. “It was my introduction to the fact that there are people like that and they are just like the rest of us.”

“It doesn’t make any sense to me,” he added. “They didn’t deserve this.”

Another victim, Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross Township, Pa., was remembered as a loyal congregant and a dentist who would serve patients who did not have insurance or were underinsured, performing root canals, installing crowns on teeth and doing other preventive and restorative work.

“He was very devoted to community and to service,” said Susan Kalson, 59, the chief executive of the Squirrel Hill Health Center. “He loved working with our patients, underserved patients, including a lot of refugees and immigrants.”

Dr. Gottfried, described as a quiet, kind and unassuming man, was a dentist in the Pittsburgh area for decades after starting a private practice with his wife, also a dentist, in 1984. Seven years ago, he was looking for a way to give back to the community, and started working about once a week at the Squirrel Hill center, where he found a way to “do for others,” Ms. Kalson said.

She said Dr. Gottfried was deeply devoted to Judaism. He and his wife, who was not Jewish, both worked part time at the center and were very close. They had no children, Ms. Kalson said, adding, “They were just one of those couples that is just so interwoven.”

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