By COLlive reporter
Dr. Howard Kaye, the beloved husband of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who was murdered in the shooting attack at Chabad of Poway in April 2019, passed away.
He was 71.
During the attack, John Earnest, 19, stormed Chabad of Poway during a crowded Shabbos davening on the last day of Pesach toting an AR-15 assault rifle. He spewed anti-Semitic invectives and opened fire, gunning down Gilbert-Kaye, 60, who died at the scene.
During the attack, Howard Kaye, a rheumatologist, desperately attempted to revive one of the shooting victims, passing out upon realizing it was his own wife of 34 years.
In a Newsweek op-ed 3 months after the shooting, Dr. Kaye sought to prevent similar tragedies by calling for the re-education of society on the “basic laws of human civilization.”
His article revealed how a book that focuses on consolation and advice for the bereaved from the Rebbe was the last book his wife purchased, and that it helped him through his own mourning process.
“Not many know that Lori came to synagogue that morning to pray for the soul of her mother, who had passed not long before,” Kaye wrote in Newsweek. “Throughout her own grieving, she sought solace in the Rebbe’s teachings on coping with loss. Lori was an avid reader. The very last book she bought before her brutal murder was A Time to Heal: The Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Response to Loss and Tragedy, [by Rabbi Mendel Kalmenson, co-director of the Chabad center of Belgravia, London.] She never had a chance to read it.
“As I work towards solace and healing through long days and lonely evenings, I find myself reaching for Lori’s book, still on her nightstand,” he continued. “Even in death, my loving, caring Lori anticipated my needs and prepared these comforting teachings. It’s almost as if she’s reading them by my side.”
Kaye invoked the theme in his editorial that the circumstance must be used for teaching and for good, ultimately to take down darkness with light.
Amid the “agony of Lori’s funeral, the ensuing shiva period [Judaism’s seven days of mourning] that followed and the many unbearable days and weeks that followed,” Kaye wrote in the Newsweek piece, “one central teaching of the Rebbe has kept me going, motivating me to keep telling myself: “I was placed in this unfathomably challenging situation for a purpose and I’ve been given the strength to overcome it.”
“While Judaism does not provide explanations for such tragedy,” the Rebbe taught, “it does have a response. He [the Rebbe] urged that our response to humanly-inflicted tragedies be to take concrete steps to improve the moral state of society, to uproot the underlying causes of such moral depravity.
“My wife, Lori, was the kindest, gentlest person I’ve ever known,” he wrote. “I often felt she may have been one of the 36 righteous people that Jewish tradition teaches uphold the world.”
In recent years, Dr. Kaye was a beloved member of Bais Betzalel, Chabad of North County Inland.
He is survived by his daughter, Hannah Kaye, brother, Richard Kaye, and his brother-in-law John and Randi Grossman.
The Levaya took place on Monday, September 18.
Baruch Dayan Ha’emes – Herschel Nachum Ben Yitzchak HaKohen.