On April 23, Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, was killed in a Poway, Calif., synagogue when she jumped in front of a rabbi as a gunman burst into the building and opened fire on the congregation’s members.

Gilbert-Kaye sacrificed her life in order to save the life of the rabbi and possibly other people’s lives located near them by her act of heroism.

Gilbert-Kaye was described as always running to do a mitzvah (good deed) and offering tzedakah (charity) for all.

Only a week later on April 30, a college student, Riley Howell, 21, died while rushing a gunman in Charlotte, N.C., who entered Howell’s University of North Carolina-Charlotte classroom and opened fired. Four others were critically injured. Howell chose to charge the assailant in an attempt to stop the gunman from inflicting further death.

Howell was described as the kind of person who would take care of people the moment he met them, while radiating love and kindness.

What would you or I do if faced with a similar situation? Truthfully, we would never know until such a catastrophic moment forced us to make a critical split-second decision of heart and mind.

Nonetheless, the loss of these two wonderful souls is  heartbreaking. However, in the present-day reality of increased out-of-control disrespectful, bigoted and dishonest behavior in America, coupled with our country’s deadly gun- and ignorant hate-motivated violence, it’s encouraging to witness such acts of bravery and heroism by Americans in helping and caring for their fellow Americans.

Michael Thomas Masters


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