Hannah Kaye clutches earth from the gravesite of her mother, Lori Gilbert Kaye, as she watches Chabad of Poway congregation members fill the plot with dirt at El Camino Memorial Park. Photo by Chris Stone

In death, the light of Lori Gilbert Kaye “reached all crevices of our planet,” said her daughter at a Monday celebration of life two days after the 60-year-old was gunned down in the synagogue she helped build.

Kaye completed an act of service for the whole Jewish people, said Hannah, her 22-year-old only child.

“She knew Judaism was also about who you are as a person, how you treated others, how you respected and showed loving kindness to all people. My mother lived her life this way,” Hannah said at Chabad of Poway, which the congregation’s president called Ground Zero, “the very place where an anti-Semitic terrorist came to tear us down.”

But Hannah said the hatred of 19-year-old shooting suspect John T. Earnest “does not shatter the love of my mother and the love of the community she was part of.”

“I know my mother has already forgiven this man who shot her,” she said during a 2-hour service preceding a heavily attended burial at El Camino Memorial Park in Sorrento Valley.

Bereaved relatives, grieving fellow congregants and an array of political leaders gathered to mourn one of the synagogue’s “pioneers,” a former Wells Fargo Bank employee who helped get the congregation a loan in 1995 to build its house of worship blocks from Rancho Bernardo.

The victim’s husband praised his late wife as a highly generous and loving person.

“She had a soul that was greater than any of us ever could believe,” said Howard Kaye, a physician who tried in vain to save his spouse’s life with CPR while she lay mortally wounded.

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The grieving husband also had a message for those who commit the type of crime that took his wife’s life.

“And for all of the people who perpetrate hate through this world — you’re feeding on blood,” he said. “You’re lowering yourselves to a level below an animal, and for that reason get out while you can. Turn your life around. Come back into the real world, the world of Lori, which is peace and love on Earth.”

The White House sent Elan S. Carr, recently appointed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as the United States envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.

Carr, a former criminal prosecutor, sometimes spoke in Hebrew. He inveighed against “Jew hatred” for more than eight minutes, noting a worldwide rise in attacks, hate speech and vandalism.

“This murderer wasn’t born that way,” he said. “He spent his life — years of his life — drinking the vile poison of anti-Semitism from hateful movements that inculcate Jew hatred in young people.”

Mourners gathered outside Chabad of Poway. Photo by Joe Nalven

He said America was built on freedom and redemption — evoking the just-ended Passover holiday.

“I am here to say we are at war with these people,” Carr nearly shouted. “We are at war with the anti-Semites who don’t conceal the anti-Semitism, the unvarnished naked anti-Semitism of the supremacists. And we are war also with the hidden, concealed anti-Semitism who hate the state of Israel and dress up their anti-Semitism under the fig leaf of anti-Zionism.”

He declared that “Jew hatred is Jew hatred, and we fill fight it in every city in the United States. We will fight it on every campus. And we will fight it in every capital throughout the world.”

Carr said prayers for peace and calm were understandable.

“But they are insufficient,” he said. “We pray for might before we pray for peace because the age-old sages have acknowledged that when the world is broken, when there is hatred, homicidal hatred and injustice, we first must fight it.”

Carr called for “courage and strength and might” to fight and vanquish evil.

“If that is what we do, and if that is the purpose to which we dedicate ourselves, …. then Lori’s murder … will not have been in vain.”

Carr was followed by Israel’s Eton Weiss, acting counsel general, who said “the people of Israel stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all of you. And this is our greatest victory against those who want to harm us.”

“We are here because of the values Lori gave her life for,” Weiss told an overflow sanctuary — with hundreds outside and in a church across the street watching screens of the ceremonies.

“The more they will try to threaten us, the more we will push back,” he said, “by upholding our values of life, love and giving. And eventually, we will be triumphant. All of you remember that. … We will always be there for you, Howard and Hannah.”

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who lost his right index finger in the shootings, at times gestured with his mutilated and bandaged hand.

He said there were “no adequate words to describe what we all endured in this room this past (Sabbath).”

During the attack, the congregation “saw the darkest of humanity,” Goldstein told the gathering attended by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Poway Mayor Steve Vaus (leading the singing of “God Bless America,” with hero congregant Oscar Stewart at his side.)

“I saw it face to face,” the rabbi said. “I wish to never see that ever again. I wish no one ever sees that ever again. At the same moment, we saw the heroic efforts of humanity, running into the line of fire to spare other lives, putting their lives in danger. This is the best of humanity.”

The rabbi insisted the congregation will rise above the trauma.

“What we are going to take from this event is (that) it’s not going to knock us down,” he said. “It’s going to lift us up.”

The victim’s husband praised his late wife as a highly generous and loving person.

“She had a soul that was greater than any of us ever could believe,” said Howard Kaye, a physician who tried in vain to save his spouse’s life with CPR while she lay mortally wounded at the temple.

The grieving husband also had a message for those who commit this type of crime.

“And for all of the people who perpetrate hate through this world — you’re feeding on blood,” he said. “You’re lowering yourselves to a level below an animal, and for that reason get out while you can. Turn your life around. Come back into the real world, the world of Lori, which is peace and love on Earth.”

One of the victim’s sisters told the gathering that Kaye “was taken from us in a tragic way, but not in vain.”

“This is a house of God,” Randi Grossman said. “We are a people who believe in God. And we believe God does things for the good. If he chose Lori … there is a reason. And although we don’t know what the reason is, we know that it’s for the greater good.

“Lori died on (the Sabbath). Lori died on Passover. Lori died in a synagogue. And Lori died saving our rabbi.”

Kaye’s father, Richard S. Gilbert, didn’t speak but listened from the front row, using a wheelchair. (A retired podiatrist in Encinitas, Gilbert once was known as “Feets” as the San Diego Chargers team doctor for many years.)

Sam Hoffman, president of Chabad of Poway, opened the ceremonies.

“We’ve now come together to build our community back up by remembering and celebrating the life of my dear friend Lori Kaye, and to show that we stand tall against a darkness of evil and anti-Semitism in the world.”

Donna Doan, a self-described Catholic, told a reporter she attended the funeral in support of the Jewish community.

“I feel like I have to be here,” the Rancho Bernardo woman said outside the synagogue.

Another attendee, a Carlsbad resident and Christian who identified herself only as Caryn, said she was at the memorial to show support for the victimized congregation.

“I love the Jewish community,” she said. “I hate to see senseless and irrational crimes committed.”

Also present were other Chabad rabbis, members of the Muslim and Sikh communities and law enforcement brass, including Sheriff Bill Gore and the two most recent San Diego police chiefs — Shelley Zimmerman and David Nisleit. Also: county Supervisors Jim Desmond, Nathan Fletcher and Dianne Jacob and other local and state elected leaders.

Goldstein concluded his remarks to applause.

“We won’t allow anyone — no terrorist, no murderer, no evil — to shut us down,” he said. “We will continue growing, thriving, building and to be the light to the world, the peace to the world and to truly make this world a greater place …. until the coming of the [messiah] speedily in our days.”

— City News Service contributed to this report.

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