Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz remembered by patients as anything but typical

PITTSBURGH — As friends and family members of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims continue to mourn, there are also fond memories of those who were killed being shared.

One of the victims, Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, was a physician who helped many families in the area with their health.

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Jerry Schmitt was one of his patients and he said Rabinowitz was anything but typical.

“He was just somebody that I could go to and he was, he just never let me down,” Schmitt said.

The two met over three decades ago when Schmitt saw Dr. R, as some called him, for a hand injury. The doctor told Schmidt he was more concerned with his blood pressure -- and got him to think about changing his habits.

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“He talked about a radiator in a car, and if it springs a leak that means a car is going to overheat. He got me to thinking if I sprung a leak in my brain I might have trouble,” Schmitt recalled.

That care even extended to Schmidt when he was thousands of miles away on business in India and caught a gastrointestinal bug. Dr. Rabinowitz called him every day for two weeks just to check in.

Schmitt couldn't imagine a better doctor.


“He used to ask me if I was going to retire because of my age and I said I wasn’t sure and then I’d say, ‘What about you?’ And he would say, ‘No, I’m never going to retire.’ And in my mind I’m thinking ‘don’t you ever leave me,’ but he left me unfortunately.”

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Rabinowitz, 66, was one of the 11 killed when a gunman ambushed the Tree of Life synagogue where they prayed.

Schmidt is heartbroken but holds fast to the memory of a physician become friend.

“He’s one of the sweetest, gentlest people I ever knew,” Schmitt said.