May 9, 2013

A Funeral and A Wedding

This is a country of intensity, of gears that groan in low, yet quickly shift to high, to soar and to fly.  This past week was one of intense sadness followed by joy as only can be felt in Israel.

I recently saw a photo of a young boy clinging to the body of his father, crying, screaming in despair. His dad, a 31-year-old father of five, was stabbed to death while waiting for a bus. This vision will never leave me.

I just received a letter written by a man who knew the family and who was at the funeral and shiva of Evyatar.  He experienced this shift from despair to hope. 

This is what he saw.

The 26-year old widow, mother of five, walked in. Friends who provided amazing warmth and strength surrounded her. Then, in walked the three oldest children and I remind you the oldest is seven.

I was asked by one of the boys if I had Bamba or candy and then he said, “Did you know that my aba was killed by a terrorist? My Aba has to sleep in a grave and the terrorist was taken to a hospital.”

It was this same child we all saw live and then in the newspapers hugging his dead father wrapped in a tallit asking him to wake up.

I was amazed that the people of Yitzhar where they live had total control and showed respect at the funeral. I was wrongfully expecting them to be demonstrating, but they didn’t and I saw a totally different side of them, breaking existing paradigms, at least for me. There were 2000 people at the funeral according to the news reports.

(That morning) Evyatar prepared lunches for his five kids, fed them dressed them and took them to school, went to the bus stop to wait for a ride to work where he was practicing for his next play (he was an actor). Next a ruthless murderer stabbed him in the back, was slightly wounded by the army and taken to a hospital.

A friend of Evyatar’s got out of his car dragged him behind the bus stop said Kriyat Shema and closed his eyes.                       

To end on a sweet note, Evyatar z”l was always smiling. It was said by close friends that they only saw him not smile twice and the second time was at his death.

His brother Elyada came home to sit Shiva for one day in Hashmonaim. I brought him chairs from the Bet Knesset Rimon to use for the Shiva. On Friday, Yehuda, his childhood friend and myself took the chairs and passed them over the wall from his porch to mine so that we can use them for a Shabbat Chatan (UFRUF) over Shabbat. 

I called Elyada in Kfar Chassidim to tell him that it was a very symbolic act. His brother spent his entire 31 years making people happy. It was so befitting that the chairs we sat on at his Shiva is put over a wall to celebrate a new groom to be.

The nation winces with the pain of this family. Senseless, shocking, a loving young father is killed for being a Jew. We cry, yet we continue living, our feet becoming more entrenched in this land.

A funeral and a wedding. This is how we will survive.

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