Gail Schlossberg of Akron remembers Rose Mallinger as a loving and giving mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and
great-grandmother who adored her family and regularly attended services with her daughter at Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh.
Mallinger, 97, was among the 11 who died when a gunman opened fire in the synagogue Oct. 27. Her daughter was injured in the shooting.
Schlossberg, a cousin of Mallinger’s by marriage, declined to give the name of the daughter.
Despite Mallinger’s age, Schlossberg said she stayed active, getting her hair done every week, and was devoted to her Jewish faith.
“Jewish life was her life,” Schlossberg said. “The synagogue was a very important part of her life as well as family.”
Another cousin, Marilyn Lapides of Akron, said Mallinger was like a “little ball of energy.”
“At 97, she could carry on a conversation about all kinds of stuff, that’s who she was,” Lapides said. “She was a cheerful, friendly, warm and very energetic.”
Schlossberg last saw Mallinger in the spring when Schlossberg and Lapides traveled to Pittsburgh for a basketball game. They stayed with their cousin, Lauren Mallinger, who lived next door to Rose Mallinger. Family was always going back and forth from both of the houses, said Lapides, through what they referred to as “the booth,” which was a sectioned off area between the front doors.
During that visit, the family shared a Shabbat dinner. Lapides remembers talking and laughing and complimenting Rose Mallinger’s sweater, which Mallinger found funny since it was an old sweater and she received compliments on it often.
“We had a wonderful time talking about family, her grandchildren, (she was) just happy to see us,” Schlossberg said. “We were so honored to be there.”
Schlossberg and Lapides, along with other Akron cousins, including Cathy Baer, plan to rent a van to travel to the Nov. 2 funeral in Pittsburgh.
Baer has been aware of other mass shootings but was shocked when a family member was one of the victims.
“There’s been so many mass shootings,” she said, listing other recent shootings. “And then all of a sudden, it’s a family member, it’s somebody you know. It hits home.”
Lapides echoes Baer’s comment, adding an event like this “should be impossible.”