Sunday, March 29, 2009

Eliran

I'm cross-posting this post by my wife, Rena, who wrote about a very moving azkarah (memorial service) that we attended last night.
Mar 28, 2001 - Eliran Rosenberg-Zayat, 15, of Givat Shmuel and Naftali Lanzkorn, 13, of Petah Tikva were killed in a suicide bombing at the Mifgash Hashalom ("peace stop") gas station several hundred meters from an IDF roadblock near the entrance to Kalkilya, east of Kfar Saba. Four people were injured. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
The above quote is from the "Victims of Palestinian Terror Since September 2000" section on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel. The Zayat family lives two doors down from us, so last night we went to their house for Eliran's yahrzeit. Two of his sisters, Shiran (age 13) and Noga (age 8) gave a stirring presentation about God's will. We do not have to thank God for doing something that is painful to us, but He definitely has his reasons, which we cannot understand. That was their message. Rav Hadaya, the Rav of our yishuv, gave a shiur, before and after which Refael Zayat (Eliran's father) said kaddish. A fitting and appropriate way to raise the neshama of their son.

I have come to know the Zayat family somewhat because they have a son, Ziv, in Bezalel's class. Ziv has a cochlear implant and wears a hearing aid, and he and Bezalel get along very well. Michal (the mother) is soft spoken and sensitive to others. She has even offered to make phone calls for me to the necessary services if I find the Hebrew too overwhelming. Every week she hosts a shiur in her house for women given by Rav Hadaya to enhance our spirituality. Shirin ran a camp this past summer, which Leah attended and loved. Hila (age 15) regularly babysits for my neighbor when she works in the afternoon. We had no idea about Eliran. The Zayat family does not walk around depressed or shrouded in mourning. They are a vibrant part of our growing community.

We sat with Refael and Michal at a recent wedding, and they asked us how old Ruby was when his father died. Ziv, they said, is obsessed with death, and asked Bezalel if he ever had anyone close to him die. Bezalel said that his Zaide died when his Abba was nine, information which Ziv then passed on to his parents. Death is a part of their life, said Michal, and they then told us about Eliran. Ziv does not know quite how to deal with the brother he never knew.

This morning I asked Bezalel if Ziv ever talks about death with him. Bezalel said that they don't talk about those things, and so I told him that Michal told me about the question Ziv asked him. Oh yes, said Bezalel, and I told him that Zaide died and he told me that his brother died when he was 20 as a soldier in the army - Arabs killed him.

I feel blessed that I can still shelter him from the cold, horrible truth. I pray to God to continue to support the Zayat family for the sacrifice they have made.