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Jurors for Pittsburgh synagogue trial hear victim-impact statements

“She comes home at night from work to an empty house, and he’s not there,” Daniel Kramer said of his widowed sister.

Michele Rosenberg (left) is comforted by her sister, Diane, as she speaks of the deaths of their brothers, Cecil and David Rosenberg, 59 and 54, who they said knew prayers by heart since they attended synagogue every week. Credit: Courtesy of “A Tree of Life” documentary.
Michele Rosenberg (left) is comforted by her sister, Diane, as she speaks of the deaths of their brothers, Cecil and David Rosenberg, 59 and 54, who they said knew prayers by heart since they attended synagogue every week. Credit: Courtesy of “A Tree of Life” documentary.

The final phase has begun to determine if jurors will send convicted murderer Robert Bowers, 50, to death row.

After opening statements on Monday, victims’ family members took the stand to describe their lost loved ones and reveal how the most deadly antisemitic attack in U.S. history has wrought devastation on their lives.

Daniel Kramer, the brother-in-law of Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, testified first on Tuesday. He described how his sister’s husband devoted himself to his medical practice and his Judaism. Kramer said Rabinowitz was always smiling and that “he was so happy to be a doctor. He was so happy to have his patients.”

Kramer discussed his sibling, Rabinowitz’s widow, Miri, and the hole now left in her life. 

“She comes home at night from work to an empty house, and he’s not there,” he said. “And when something good happens in her life, he’s not there to share it with, to share that happiness. And when something difficult happens with her, he’s not there to help her.”

Michelle Weiss and Michael Simon also testified, telling the jury how the death of their parents wrought devastation on the family. Weiss, who noted that she was unmarried, described feelings of loneliness, saying she “lost my best friend, my confidant, my everything. I lost my two most important people in one day.”

On Wednesday, Michele Rosenthal spoke about the loss of her two younger brothers, avid synagogue attendees David and Cecil Rosenthal, describing them as having an “infectious joy for life which they spread throughout the neighborhood.” She was the one tasked with having to tell their parents the news of the domestic terror attack and said that “their lives have been turned upside-down. They never expected to bury their sons.”

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