California synagogue mourns woman who ‘took the bullet’ in weekend shooting

A candlelight vigil is held at Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church for victims of a shooting incident at the Congregation Chabad synagogue in Poway, north of San Diego, California, U.S. April 27, 2019. REUTERS/John Gastaldo

By Joseph Ax and Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) – The woman who was killed in a deadly shooting at a Southern California synagogue will be buried on Monday after being hailed as a hero, as police continue to investigate the motive of the 19-year-old suspect.

Lori Gilbert Kaye, 60, had attended services at Chabad of Poway in suburban San Diego on Saturday, the last day of the weeklong Jewish holiday of Passover, to honor her recently deceased mother. Her daughter, Hannah, and her husband, Howard, were with her.

She was one of four people shot, and the only one killed, when a gunman stormed in with an assault-style rifle, six months to the day after 11 worshippers were killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue in the deadliest attack on American Jewry. Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who was shot in both hands during the attack and lost a finger, described seeing Kaye’s lifeless body on the floor, as her husband tried to resuscitate her before fainting.

“It’s the most heart-wrenching sight I could have seen,” Goldstein told reporters on Sunday. “Lori took the bullet for all of us … She died to protect all of us.”

The gunman, identified by police as John Earnest, fled after his weapon jammed and eventually called police in order to surrender.

Earnest, who is being held without bail, appears to have authored an online manifesto in which he claimed to have set a nearby mosque on fire last month and drawn inspiration from mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand that killed 50 people in March.

Local and federal authorities also are examining Earnest’s possible involvement in the March 24 pre-dawn arson fire at the Islamic Center of Escondido, about 15 miles (24 km) north of Poway, Gore said.

Kaye, one of the synagogue’s founding members more than three decades ago, was a deeply caring member of the community, her friends said. When one congregant developed breast cancer, Kaye drove her to every appointment and helped take care of her children, Goldstein said.

“She is a person of unconditional love,” Goldstein said.

In a Facebook post, a friend, Audrey Jacobs, called her a “woman of valor” whose final act was to protect others.

“You were always running to do a mitzvah (good deed) and gave tzedaka (charity) to everyone,” she wrote.

Another close friend, Roneet Lev, said on CNN that Kaye’s life was defined by giving, whether money to charities, greeting cards to friends or a bagel and coffee to a homeless person.

“She is the symbol of random acts of kindness,” Lev said on CNN. “She’s had ups and downs in her life like all of us, but no matter what, in her darkest days – and she’s had trauma in her life – she always, always looked at the positive.”

Her funeral will take place at the synagogue on Monday afternoon.

Earnest is scheduled to appear in a San Diego court on Wednesday. Authorities believe he acted alone.

The other two wounded victims were Noya Dahan, 9, and her uncle, Almog Peretz, 34, both Israeli citizens. They were released from the hospital after getting hit by shrapnel.

Dahan’s family moved to the United States in search of a safer life after their home was repeatedly shelled by Palestinian rockets.

At a vigil on Sunday, Dahan rode on her father’s shoulders, wrapped in an Israeli flag, as people cheered.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York, and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Scott Malone and Bill Trott)

Police examine motive of man accused of deadly California synagogue attack

A car, allegedly used by the gunman who killed one at the Congregation Chabad synagogue in Poway, is pictured, few hundred feet from the Interstate 15 off-ramp north of San Diego, California, U.S. April 27, 2019. REUTERS/John Gastaldo

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Police were examining the motive on Monday of the man accused of a deadly shooting at a synagogue in Southern California, after determining the 19-year-old gunman acted alone.

The gunman walked into the Chabad of Poway in suburban San Diego on Saturday and killed one woman and wounded three other people inside, using an assault-style rifle, police said.

The Poway mayor over the weekend called the shooting a hate crime. The accused gunman, John T. Earnest, appears to be the author of an online manifesto who claimed to have previously set fire to a mosque and drawn inspiration from last month’s mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand that killed 50 people.

Saturday’s bloodshed in Poway came at the end of the week-long Jewish holiday of Passover and unfolded six months to the day after 11 worshippers were killed by a gunman who stormed the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Earnest, who has been held without bail, is scheduled to appear in a San Diego court on Wednesday to face a charge of murder and three counts of attempted murder, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department website.

The gunman is believed to have carried out the shooting without support from anyone else, San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore said in a statement on Sunday.

“We are continuing to explore every investigative avenue to bring out all the facts in this case,” Gore said.

Earnest fled in a car as an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent, who had been at the synagogue, fired at his vehicle. The teenager later called police to surrender.

Authorities are investigating Earnest’s possible involvement in the March 24 pre-dawn arson fire at the Islamic Center of Escondido, a town about 15 miles (24 km) north of Poway, Gore said.

The slain victim, Lori Kaye, was a founding member of the Chabad of Poway congregation, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who was among the three wounded victims, told reporters.

Another survivor, Israel Dahan, whose 8-year-old daughter was wounded, told Israel Radio on Sunday that the attacker’s gun jammed.

Worshipper Oscar Stewart, 51, rushed the gunman and chased him outside before another person, the off duty Border Patrol agent, opened fire, Gore said.

Stewart is a U.S. Army veteran and works as an electrician, the Los Angeles Times reported.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Israel bans Passover holiday exodus to Egypt’s Sinai, citing attack threats

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel took the unusual step on Monday of barring its citizens from crossing into Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, saying the threat of attacks in the area inspired by Islamic State and other jihadi groups was high.

Minutes after the ban was announced, the Israeli military said a rocket was launched from the Sinai and struck southern Israel, causing no injuries.

The ban will be in effect at the Taba crossing at least until April 18, the end of the Jewish holiday of Passover that begins at sundown on Monday, said a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.

Thousands of Israelis usually cross the land border with Egypt during the holiday to visit resorts and beaches on the Sinai Red Sea coast.

Egypt declared a three-month state of emergency on Sunday after bombings of Coptic churches in Alexandria and the Nile delta city of Tanta which killed more than 40 people. Islamic State claimed responsibility for both incidents and warned of future attacks.

In the thinly populated Sinai, an Islamist insurgency has gained pace since Egypt’s military toppled President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, and militants have carried out deadly cross-border attacks on Israel in recent years.

Militants in the Sinai aim, the statement said, “to carry out terrorist attacks against tourists in the Sinai, including Israelis, in the immediate future”.

The statement urged Israelis already in the Sinai to return home immediately, reiterating a travel advisory that Israel’s Anti-Terrorism Directorate issued on March 27.

Israel signed a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; editing by Andrew Roche)

Israel urges citizens to leave Egypt’s Sinai, citing IS threat

A general view shows Israel's border fence with Egypt's Sinai peninsula (R), as seen from Israel's Negev Desert

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel on Monday urged citizens vacationing in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula to leave immediately, saying the threat of attacks inspired by Islamic State and other jihadi groups was high.

The advisory was issued ahead of the Passover holiday, when thousands of Israelis cross the land border with Egypt to visit resorts and beaches on the Sinai’s Red Sea coast.

Israel’s Anti-Terrorism Directorate said its “Level 1” alert related to a “very high concrete threat”.

“Islamic State and those inspired by it are at the forefront of global jihadi groups that are highly motivated to carry out attacks during this period,” the directorate wrote.

“All Israelis currently in the Sinai should return and … (we) also strongly advise that those wanting to travel to Sinai should not do so.”

An Islamist insurgency in the rugged, thinly populated Sinai has gained pace since Egypt’s military toppled President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.

Militants have launched a number of deadly cross-border attacks on Israel in recent years.

Israel signed a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979. The directorate on Monday refreshed standing warnings for other countries, including Jordan and Turkey.

(Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Andrew Roche)

Israel Prepares for Passover

Israel is preparing for the annual Passover amid heightened restrictions and concerns because of the crumbling peace process and questions about U.S. support for the nation.

Israel has sealed off the West Bank, barring any Palestinians from entering the West Bank as a protective measure against Muslim terrorist attacks during one of the Holiest weeks of the year.  Israeli police are also restricting Jerusalem holy sites.

However, Israel is doing more than just preparing for their own citizens to celebrate the holiday.  The country has been working to provide Passover wine, matzo and other items for the celebration for Jews trapped in countries around the world where their lives are at risk.

An Arab Israeli politician has been proving to Jewish communities in Muslim countries including the war-torn nation of Syria.  Ayoub Kara refused to name the other nations where the supplies are being sent for security reasons.

The “festival of freedom” includes most of the nation shutting down in the evenings for celebrations with friends and family.

The Passover Celebration with Rabbi Cahn

This week, we are airing the Passover Celebration that Rabbi Cahn conducted here at Morningside.  This is a deeply spiritual event that is very timely with where we are in these Revelation Days in which we live.  There are so many things that are coming together right now – believers are coming back together, and Jew and Gentile are uniting in their recognition of Jesus’ soon return and the eternal drama that is reaching a crescendo in the earth.

We are seeing all of the signs of Jesus’ return in our world right now and they are increasing!  Just this week, we have seen even more meteors in the sky!  These are signs in the heavens and we must not miss them!

In all of the excitement, we are reminded of an ancient ordinance that God instructed over 3,000 years ago.  This is a permanent ordinance to remember Christ, our Passover Lamb and to prepare our hearts to receive Him when He comes again. Continue reading