Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fifteen years later, a mother's graveside words to a murdered daughter

My daughter Malki z"l and I,
April 2001
Today, the 20th day of Av according to the Hebrew calendar, is the anniversary of the day in 2001 when Hamas launched an assault on Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria. The text below is the English translation of my brief tribute given at the graveside today.

After a decade and a half of memorials, of suffering, of longing for Malki and Michal and of fury over the travesty of justice inflicted by our government - there is nothing new.

Just an intensification...

Now it is even harder to approach you, Malki, to remember you and your beauty both internal and external.

Sometimes when I recall images of you, I must immediately flee them; the pain is so unbearable.

Today would have been the 92nd birthday of your grandmother from Australia whom you always loved and honored. Sadly she passed away this past Shabbat.

Like you, she was persecuted and pursued by haters of Jews. Like you, she suffered at their hands. But unlike you, she survived and was blessed with a wonderful "bayit ne'eman b'Yisrael" - a Jewish family.

She was so impacted by your murder that, despite her frailty, she made the grueling trip to attend the memorial held here in your memory 30 days after you were murdered. That was her last visit to us. But, as Daddy just wrote me, he found that she subsequently filled her room with photos of you. They are still there.

As I have done each year, I opened your diary - the last gift you gave us, a window into your innermost thoughts. I was impressed anew by your maturity, your innocent faith, your modesty and your devotion to your job as a leader in the religious youth movement, Ezra.

All the admirable traits you demonstrated there - empathy, striving for perfect relations with all of your friends and the children you led and deep love for family - it is clear that had you lived as you should have, those same traits would have stood you in good stead in your career, your relationship with a husband and in raising a family of your own - challenges you never enjoyed.

על אלה אני בוכיה עיני עיני ירדה מים כי רחק ממני מנחם
איכה א טז
"This is why I weep and my eyes overflow with tears. No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit." [Lamentations 1:16]


  1. I want to comfort you, but I don't have words that mean enough. May Hashem surround you with good people who care about you.

    1. Thank you for your kind wishes. It is indeed the ones around me whom I love who give me the strength to continue.

  2. I just found your blog.I was reading about Nava Appelbaum and her father hy'd and found an article you wrote, which led me to your website. Your daughter seemed truly special. I feel your pain so much when I read about her. I truly find that you find comfort in your loss for your precious child and everything she would have been. What is most inspiring to me is how you built an organization- may her beautiful neshama have the highest aliyah in the True World.