At least one of the 20 children killed in the Newtown school massacre was a 6-year-old Jewish boy, whose twin sister and older sibling escaped the rampage at the Sandy Hook School.
Noah Pozner was identified by the coroner as the youngest of the victims. He was shot 11 times.
Rabbi Shaul Praver of Adath Israel said he had spent time with Veronika Pozner, the mother of little Noah.
“She said that she didn’t know how she was going to go on, and we encouraged her to focus on her other four children that need her and not to try to plan out the rest of her life, just take a deep breath right now,” Praver said.
The slain boy’s uncle, Arthur Pozner, of Brooklyn, told Newsday that the family moved from New York to idyllic Connecticut because they believed it was safer. They targeted Newtown for its top-rated public schools.
“Extremely, extremely mature. When I was his age, I was not like him,” Arthur Pozner said. “Very well brought up. Extremely bright. Extremely bright.”
Another victim, Ben Wheeler, was also identified as being Jewish by some Israeli news outlets. His father David is a writer and performer with the Flagpole Shakespeare Repertory Theater, Newsday reported.
Noah Pozner’s twin sister and 8-year-old sister were also students at the school, but escaped unhurt.
“At this stage, two out of three survived … That’s sad,” Arthur Pozner told Newsday. “The reason they moved to that area is because they did not consider any school in New York State on the same level – that’s one of the reasons they moved, for safety and education.”
Praver told the Wall Street Journal that he didn’t know Noah Pozner but taught his older brother, Michael Vabner, for his bar mitzvah.
“He was a sweet kid,” said David Wiener, a past president of the synagogue who was at a memorial service held there Saturday as part of its regular Shabbat services.
In response to the question of why such tragedies hapen, Praver told National Public Radio: “I don’t know the answer to that. I never try to present a theological answer to that. I think what’s more important is to have compassion, humanity and hold someone’s hand and hug them and cry with them.”
Praver, who ended his NPR interview with a plea for listeners to pray for the families affected, also said that another friend of the congregation was killed.
Twelve girls, eight boys and six adult women were killed in the shooting on Friday at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Connecticut’s chief medical examiner said.
The children killed in the Connecticut school shooting were all 6 or 7 years old, H. Wayne Carver told reporters.
One of the girls celebrated her seventh birthday just four days before she was killed, according to a list of victims Carver provided.
The gunman killed himself, authorities said. His body and that of his mother, who was killed at her home nearby, would be autopsied on Sunday, Carver said.
The state’s chief medical examiner, Dr. H. Wayne Carver II, described the attack that left a total of 28 people dead, including the shooter and his mother, “the worst I have seen.”
Asked to describe the young victims - one of whom had just celebrated her seventh birthday on Tuesday, Carver said, “They were wearing cute kid stuff.”
“They were first graders. It’s the kind of stuff you’d send your kids or your grandkids out the door to first grade in,” he told reporters.
All the shootings he was aware of were committed with a rifle, Carver said.
The dead included eight boys, 12 girls, and six women aged 27 to 56, authorities said.
“All the wounds that I know of at this point were caused by the long weapon,” Carver said.
Here is a full list of the victims:
Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female (age 6)
Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male (age 7)
Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female (age 6)
Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female (age 7)
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female (age 6)
Dylan Hockley, 03/08/06, male (age 6)
Madeleine F. Hsu, 07/10/06, female (age 6)
Catherine V. Hubbard, 06/08/06, female (age 6)
Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male (age 7)
Jesse Lewis, 06/30/06, male (age 6)
James Mattioli, 03/22/06, male (age 6)
Grace McDonnell, 11/04/05, female (age 7)
Emilie Parker, 05/12/06, female (age 6)
Jack Pinto, 05/06/06, male (age 6)
Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male (age 6)
Caroline Previdi, 09/07/06, female (age 6)
Jessica Rekos, 05/10/06, female (age 6)
Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female (age 6)
Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male (age 6)
Allison N. Wyatt, 07/03/06, female (age 6)
Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female (age 29)
Dawn Hocksprung, 06/28/65, female (age 47)
Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female (age 52)
Lauren Russeau, 1982, female (age 29)
Mary Sherlach, 02/11/56, female (age 56)
Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female (age 27)
With reporting from Reuters and JTA