Gabrielle Giffords, the U.S. Representative to Congress from Arizona who was critically injured during a shooting at a “Congress at Your Corner” event in her home district last weekend, was still in critical condition at press time but doctors were cautiously optimistic about her recovery.
Six people, including a nine-year-old girl, a Federal Judge, and Gabe Zimmerman, Giffords’ director of community outreach were killed in the attack by gunman Jared Loughner, who is now in custody.
Giffords, a former state senator, ran for Congress in 2006 and won. During the most recent election in 2010, Giffords battled with Republican candidate Jesse Kelley, but in a close race, she was announced the winner weeks after the election.
Giffords grew up in Arizona the daughter of a Christian Scientist mother and a Jewish father. Before entering politics, she ran her family’s business, a tire company that was started by her grandfather, Akiva Hornstein, the son of a Lithuanian rabbi. He had changed the family name to Giffords after experiencing antisemitism in southern Arizona. After a trip to Israel in 2001, Gabrielle Giffords decided to commit herself fully to Judaism. She attended Temple Emanu-El, a Reform synagogue in Tucson. Zimmerman, 30, also Jewish, worked for Giffords since her first Congressional campaign in 2006.