July 27, 2016

Building Blocks

Often, here in Israel, tears of sadness fall, meeting up with tears of joy. From tragedy, hope is built. When terror strikes, people here often pick up the bitter pieces and then try to mend the world. There are many organizations here that were established by families who lost loved ones to terror.

Yesterday, I read of a new angle on this. A young nurse, Ally Schiff, made aliyah with Nefesh B’Nefesh last week. She was greeted a the airport with song and dance, tears of joy. Yet Ally's motivation to be here was to honor the memory of a nurse who was tragically killed by a terrorist.

Dafne Meir was stabbed to death on January 17 at her home in Otniel. This happened in front of three of her six children.  Her murderer? A 16 year old Palestinian who was known to the family. He took a meat knife from his home, killed her in cold blood, returned to his parents saying nothing, then fell asleep in his bed.

This is incomprehensible, haunting and disturbing. The tragedy that befell the Meir family will never leave their thoughts and lives. Ever. 

Not only was Dafne a wonderful wife and mother to six young children, she was a well-respected nurse at Soroka Hospital who caringly treated Jews and Arabs alike. She found her job very meaningful and even composed a prayer about seeing G-d’s hand in healing while she was studying for an exam on neurosurgery. She kept this private prayer in her locker at the hospital.

When Ally Schiff heard of Dafne’s death, she was completing nursing school at Johns Hopkins University. She was so moved by Dafne, she decided to make aliyah and work as a nurse in Israel to help continue the work that Dafne did.

She met Dafne’s husband Natan a few days her arrival at the Kotel. Ally prayed at the wall, then recited Dafne’s prayer, explaining her desire to make a difference here in Israel in the memory of this wonderful woman.

Modest, loving and kind. We can see the beauty of Dafne's soul in Dafne's own words.

"May it be Your Will, Creator of the world, He Who manages it with mercy and loving kindness, to grant me the ability to give medications to Your people in need of salvation, and also to the members of other nations who are in the devoted care of your faithful messengers, who continue their holy work day and night, on the Sabbath and holidays, without letup.

"Grant that I understand, remember and realize, that the medications are a gift from You, and their efficacy is Your message to us. 

"Grant that I view and feel joy at their beneficial influence of the medications I, mercifully, can give those who are ill.

"Grant me the ability to concentrate when giving out these medicines, to understand the way each acts on disease.

"Grant that I notice in time any of my errors or those of my colleagues when handing out medications, and that I act quickly to correct the errors before the medication enters the body of the patient.

"Grant that I act with modesty, learn and teach others about the successes and failures in giving medication.

"Grant that I give medications to the sick from a position of good health and that I remember to be grateful that I myself do not have to take them.

"Grant that I learn to have empathy, although in good health, with the patient's suffering and help him with all my ability every day and every hour, using the tools that You have given me.


Dafne’s beautiful prayer has since been translated into many languages and has reached out to many, including the Christian world.

As Natan said to Ally when they first met, leaving one’s family and familiar surroundings is a huge step.

I am in complete admiration of Ally and wish her much success. May she be an inspiration for people to live in Israel, and may others  follow Ally’s selfless initiative, making aliyah to honor the memory of the many Israeli terror victims who led fulfilled, meaningful, beautiful lives such as Dafne Meir.

Natan explained to Ally that her aliyah is “another building block for the country.”  

This is a video published in May in memory of Dafne Meir, may her memory be a blessing.

1 comment:

  1. Anyone know how to get in touch with Ally Schiff? (I'm a nurse at Hadassah and would love to reach out to her)


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