Remembering Cecil And David Rosenthal, Brothers Killed In Synagogue Shooting
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
We're going to take the next few minutes to remember two of the 11 people killed at the Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday, two brothers inseparable and devoted to their synagogue, Cecil and David Rosenthal. Cecil was 59, five years older than David. The brothers lived together in a community home in Pittsburgh run by ACHIEVA. That's an organization that helps people with disabilities.
Chris Schopf is vice president of residential supports with ACHIEVA, and she joins me now via Skype to remember the Rosenthal brothers. Chris Schopf, welcome, and my condolences on your loss. I'm so sorry.
CHRIS SCHOPF: Oh, thank you so very much. We appreciate that.
KELLY: Describe Cecil and David for me. What were they like?
SCHOPF: David And Cecil were larger than life. They were two of them most kind, generous people. They were so entwined into the fabric of their community. They loved to walk all through Squirrel Hill. They would stop and talk to everyone and anyone.
KELLY: And I read that Cecil had an official role. He was a greeter at the synagogue.
SCHOPF: Yes. Cecil was not only a greeter at the synagogue, but I would refer to him as the ambassador to Squirrel Hill. He was always, hello, how are you? David was a very reserved person. But as soon as you said hello to David, he just opened up. They were so close to their family. David would call his mother every single day when he got home from work. They got up with a positive attitude. How's your family? How are you doing? What's your day look like for today? Blessings for you today. And they threw parties for everything. In fact, one time they had their bathrooms remodeled in their home, and they wanted to throw a party for remodeling the bathroom.
KELLY: (Laughter) I'm trying to imagine that one (laughter).
SCHOPF: And then there was a next-door neighbor where they had their house remodeled, and they were going to put it on the market. And they went to the open house because they wanted to be a part of that.
KELLY: Yeah. What kind of work did they do? You described them coming home from work.
SCHOPF: David was working for Goodwill in cleaning, and Cecil was about to start a job two days a week in a family-owned business.
KELLY: Has it taken a toll on your staff who worked with them and helped them for all these years?
SCHOPF: Yes. To lose them at such an early age - excuse me - and they are such a vital part of their family, our family, so it is extremely difficult.
KELLY: Yeah. I'm so sorry. Part of what also must be difficult is letting all your other clients, all the other people who rely on ACHIEVA know. How are you talking them through this?
SCHOPF: Myself and another staff member went out yesterday to meet with housemates and people who knew them to offer them an explanation as best we can about the events of Saturday and to offer any support. We are also going to offer people kind of a service where people can come and share their memories and their feelings.
KELLY: So you're planning some kind of gathering within your organization to honor and remember them?
KELLY: It sounds like these are two brothers who liked to party who would have appreciated that gesture and been right there in the mix.
SCHOPF: I think that is exactly correct. I think that on Saturdays, you could have counted them to be where they were. That's where they wanted to have been. The best way that we can remember them and honor them is to know that they lived their life well. Anybody you talk to in Squirrel Hill knew them. They were well-respected in their church. And their family is absolutely fantastic. And it's one of the best situations that could ever be.
KELLY: That's Chris Schopf with ACHIEVA talking about David and Cecil Rosenthal. The brothers were killed Saturday as they attended services at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Chris Schopf, thank you.
SCHOPF: Thank you.
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