Disabled Brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal Killed in Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting
On Saturday, a gunman killed 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh. Among those killed were Cecil and David Rosenthal, brothers with intellectual disabilities.
Cecil, 59, the more outgoing of the pair, took part in his local Best Buddies program and was a greeter at the synagogue. He was known as “the honorary mayor of Squirrel Hill,” according to an obituary shared with AP.
“Cecil became a true staple of our chapter over his 8+ years, and, recently, would always welcome me with open arms and meaningful conversation each and every time we would get together. Our chapter suffered a loss of a family member yesterday. Cecil was a wonderful man and an even better friend,” Jason Bertocchi, former chapter president and local Best Buddies board member, shared in a statement.
Our friends with special abilities stand for everything that's great about our country & @bestbuddies: inclusion, acceptance, kindness, and a welcoming heart to all. Cecil Rosenthal led his whole life with these qualities, front and center. pic.twitter.com/8pFTGbvEav
— Anthony K. Shriver (@AnthonyKShriver) October 28, 2018
David, 54, was also an active member of his community and worked at Goodwill Industries. Neither brother missed a Saturday service.
“When it came time to take the Torahs out, Cecil always stepped forward to carry it, and David was right behind him. The rabbis knew: You’ve got to give them a Torah to carry,” Barton Schachter, a past president for Tree of Life, told Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The Rosenthal brothers shared an apartment in Squirrel Hill through ACHIEVA, which provides supports for people with disabilities. “They loved life. They loved their community. They spent a lot of time at the Tree of Life, never missing a Saturday,” the organization shared in a statement.
— ACHIEVA (@ACHIEVA) October 28, 2018
“If they were here they would tell you that is where they were supposed to be,” Chris Schopf, vice president of residential supports at ACHIEVA, said. “Cecil’s laugh was infectious. David was so kind and had such a gentle spirit. Together, they looked out for one another. They were inseparable. Most of all, they were kind, good people with a strong faith and respect for everyone around.”
The Rosenthal brothers are just two of the victims identified. Others include parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles — people who meant the world to those they leave behind.
You can learn more about their lives here.
Header image via ACHIEVA Twitter.