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Joyce Fienberg Remembered As A Giving Person — And Devoted To Synagogue

(JTA) — Joyce Fienberg was a dedicated worshipper at the Tree of Life Congregation, the Pittsburgh synagogue where she was among 11 killed Saturday by a lone gunman.

“My mom would be very angry that her funeral wasn’t able to be at Tree of Life, and that her friends lost Saturday couldn’t be here,” her son Howard, of Virginia, said at her funeral Wednesday.

Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral for Fienberg at Beth Shalom Congregation on Beacon Street in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, located blocks away from the Tree of Life Congregation. Her son Anthony came with his family from Paris. Haim Korsia, the chief rabbi of France, also was on hand along with rabbis from Washington, D.C., and other communities, the Pittsburgh Herald-Tribune reported.

Forty high schoolers came from the Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, where Fienberg’s niece used to teach.

Her funeral was the first of three for victims held Wednesday. Three others were laid to rest on Tuesday.

Fienberg, 75, a Toronto native who lived in several American cities before settling in Pittsburgh, also was remembered at the service as being attentive to the needs of others.

“My heart hurts — my sister is dead, my sister was murdered,” said Fienberg’s brother, Robert Libman, of Toronto. “She was my role model all my life. Her thoughts and words were of pure intent. She gave life to all she came into contact with. In the end, a life of pure giving is a life well lived. In her death, we owe it to ourselves to try to measure up. Evil tries to shut off the light, but the light refuses to be dimmed. The light is still in our hearts —even our broken hearts.”

Fienberg retired after 30 years in 2008 as a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research and Development Center, which looks at learning in the classroom and in museums.

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