Ordinarily, mourners dress in black for funerals. But when Hannah Kaye wore a pink dress to her mother’s funeral, it wasn’t out of the ordinary at all.

“I chose to wear pink because my mother was a colorful woman,” Kaye said during her eulogy at the funeral. “She was a rainbow and she would have loved it; this is her dress.”

Kaye’s mother, Lori Gilbert-Kaye, was the only victim to lose her life after a gunman opened fired in the Chabad of Poway synagogue near San Diego on Saturday, April 27, six months to the day after the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. Gilbert-Kaye reportedly sacrificed her life to protect Rabbi Yishoel Goldstein during the shooting, who survived the anti-Semitic attack.

The Monday after the shooting, Hannah Kaye, 22, stood before 700 people at her mother’s funeral held at Chabad of Poway Synagogue and gave an impassioned speech memorializing “my best friend, my greatest advocate, my dancing partner, my pumpkin.”

While moved to tears at times, of course, Kaye maintained remarkable composure and spoke with both beauty and strength on what certainly was the hardest day of her life.

“My mother gave me every opportunity I could have dreamed of,” Kaye said, ever so eloquently. “All of who I am today is a result of the experiences we had together.”

Kaye recalled the last drive she took with her mother on Friday, the day before she was killed. She asked her mom if she was proud of her, stating, “I was always asking her this and always she would say ‘yes, Hannie, yes I am so proud of you,’” she recounted. “I told her she was my best friend.”

During the two hour long funeral service, Kaye said she knows her mother already forgave the man who took her life, and that his hatred “does not shatter the love of my mother and the love of the community she was part of.” 

Gilbert-Kaye was universally loved and baked challah almost every week to celebrate Shabbat. Kaye recounted times when her mom left freshly baked loaves on people’s cars, inside mailboxes, and delivered them to houses. “Her light has reached all crevices of the planet,” Kaye said, according to USA Today

You can watch more excerpts from Kaye’s eulogy here and here.

May Lori Gilbert-Kaye’s memory be for a blessing, and may Hannah Kaye continue to be the strong woman her mother raised.

Arielle Kaplan

Arielle Kaplan is an Editorial Assistant at Alma.