Who Is Lori Gilbert Kaye? New Details On The Woman Killed In San Diego Synagogue Shooting Who Took A Bullet For Rabbi

A woman whose death truly embodied her life mission of doing good for others.

Who Is Lori Gilbert Kaye? New Details On The Woman Killed In San Diego Synagogue Shooting Who Took A Bullet For Rabbi getty

Lori Gilbert Kaye is a name you won’t see on the front pages, but probably should. Her life was taken abruptly in another senseless act of gun violence that took place in a synagogue in Poway, California. The synagogue was said to have been standing room only, so when a gunman opened fire, over 700 people became potential victims. However, Kaye stood out as the hero of the horrific event when she stepped between the gunman and the rabbi who had founded that synagogue. Her funeral was held just this week, and hundreds of people showed up to honor the life of the woman who was loved b so many. Who is Lori Gilbert Kaye?


1. She was an advocate for empathy

Kaye practiced ‘radical empathy.’ Her friends, daughter and husband remember her as someone who was unconditionally kind and went out of her way to help others at every turn. She loved baking for people, leaving loaves of her bread in mailboxes and at other homes. This practice was encouraged by her faith. Even her daughter Hannah mentioned that although they had a rocky relationship early on, the two had mended their differences and ended up bonding over this mission of kindness.



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RELATED: Who Is Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein? New Details About San Diego Rabbi Who Continued His Sermon After Being Shot

2. She was a source of light to others

Lori Gilbert Kaye's daughter wore her mother’s pink dress to the service honoring her mother’s life. She called her mother a ‘colorful woman’ and a ‘rainbow’ to others and thought pink was much more appropriate than the traditional black. 



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3. The synagogue and the rabbi she saved, had personal significance

The rabbi, Goldstein, actually had known Lori for about 30 years, and shared that she had recently attended his daughters wedding just a few weeks prior. Lori had also assisted the rabbi with the origins of the synagogue where the shooting he took place by helping him secure a building permit. 



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4. She was a dedicated and supportive mother and valued family highly

Kaye was actually planning to honor her late mother at the service, but was stopped from doing so by the attack. Her dedication to her family and her faith were clear in the way that she lived her life, in acts of kindness and selflessness. Her daughter recalled even writing poetry with her mothers encouragement: Lori would actually save clippings of newspaper articles where poems were published, or where an article talked about a poet.



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5. In her final moments, she stayed true to her mission of kindness

Another friend of Kaye’s, Roneet Lev, saw the rabbi as he went into surgery and the rabbi told him, “Let people know that Lori died saving my life.” Her final good deed was one of selfless action, fitting for her life’s mission to do good for others. In fact, at her funeral the rabbi called for the gunman to come back to the real world—the world of Lori's kindness



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Beth Al Fattal is an editorial intern at YourTango.