The oldest person to die during the mass shooting at The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh has family members in Akron.
Rose Mallinger, a 97-year-old great grandmother, was among 11 people who were shot and killed Saturday morning. Her daughter was also shot but survived.
Akron residents Cathy Baer, Gail Schlossberg and Marilyn Lapides are cousins related to Mallinger through marriage. They visited the senior citizen in her Squirrel Hill neighborhood several times over the years and are heartbroken over her tragic death.
"Rose was a vibrant, beautiful woman who adored her family, who adored cooking," Schlossberg said.
"She was a very upbeat, cheerful, happy lady, really energetic," Lapides added.
Relatives stressed faith was extremely important to Mallinger.
"I love the fact that she and her daughter went to synagogue every Saturday morning. This was a ritual," Scholossberg said.
Lapides said she can't comprehend how anyone could open fire in a place of worship where everyone should feel safe.
"Somebody comes and brings terror there that this woman, at 97, should have to hide on the floor," Lapides said. "To see this happen, It's an abomination. It's unthinkable."
The women said the hate crimes in Pennsylvania have also created a lot of fear in the Jewish community across Northeast Ohio.
"When something like this happens, how do you feel comfortable and safe?" Baer asked.
"We're all less comfortable. We all feel threatened," Lapides added.
As the cousins continue to remember a wonderful woman who touched their hearts, they're also calling on the community to come together.
They shared the following message from Mallinger's daughter-in-law: "Please use this moment to bring peace, to engage in hope."
The Akron Jewish community is hosting an interfaith vigil "Standing Together" on Thursday, Nov. 1 from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. at the Schultz Campus for Jewish Life located at 750 White Pond Drive in Akron.
On Sunday, Nov. 3, a large art and Jewish food festival will take place at Temple Israel in Bath Township. A poster with the names of the Pittsburgh victims will be on display.