Yizkor for three Israelis

July 3, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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The Melbourne and Sydney communities have attended Yizkor services to honour the memory of three Israeli teenagers abducted and murdered by Palestinian terrorists.

Melbourne service    Photo:Steve Yarrow


Melbourne :   Steve Yarrow


Over 500 people attended a meeting at Beth Weizmann in Melbourne in a show of solidarity with the Israeli community.   The meeting was addressed by the president of the Zionist Federation of Australia, Dr Danny Lamm, president of The Jewish Community Council of Victoria Nina Bassat, and sam Tatarka, president of the Zionist Council of Victoria. They spoke of normal young boys, caught in the prime of their lives, being at the wrong place,at the wrong time.


More than 650 people attended the service at Sydney’s Moriah College at which visitors were given the opportunity to light a candle, send a message to the families or give charity.

Writing letters

Writing letters

President of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Yair Miller said: “As we stand here this evening, gathered as part of the large, living, pulsating heart that is Am Yisrael – the Jewish people worldwide – we search for answers and strength when words cannot suffice. How do we deal with our unspeakable pain that we collectively must absorb?

We stand as one with our brothers and sisters worldwide, with our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael and even more so with the familiesYifrach, Shaar and Fraenkel.

Abi Blackman    Photo: Henry Benjamin

Abi Blackman Photo: Henry Benjamin

The “normal” victims of terror are usually unknown. Those immediately murdered in terror attacks build awareness of the collective price claimed by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Effectively they become a part of the national bottom line of profit and loss.

Kidnappings however become tangible milestones because of the time they give the public to get to know the victims intimately. They poignantly represent the personal price that each individual is liable to pay. What is “public” becomes “private.”What is “private” becomes “public”.

Tragically we ask – how many of us remember the names of the victims of terror attacks? Who remembers the names of the victims of the Dolphinarium terror attack in Tel Aviv, the Pesach massacre in Netanya or the Coastal Road Massacre of 1978?

In comparison, the names of those like Nahshon Wachsman, Gilad Shalit and even Elhanan Tennenbaum are engraved deep in the public consciousness. While the “normal” victims belong to their families, the kidnapping victims are national property.

Rabbi Benji Levy    Photo: Henry Benjamin

Rabbi Benji Levy Photo: Henry Benjamin

After 18 days, Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel are no longer names and small profile pictures which will quickly fade away from our eyes and our hearts, as usually happens shortly after tragic events. This story went far beyond the private story of three families, and everyone felt like it was their neighbour’s son.

How do we respond to such an event? How do we not only pick up the emotional pieces, but emerge as stronger individuals and as a stronger community and people.

One path to follow comes from what David Horovitz wrote this morning – and I quote

“Remarkably, we can take our lead from the parents of the murdered teenagers, who have displayed such strength, sensitivity and concern for the rest of Israel since that fateful June 12 night. I saw this directly last Thursday, when I sat facing Rachelle Fraenkel, and she told me, among a series of extraordinary remarks, “I’m praying with all my heart. It might help. I believe it could help, especially when thousands and millions are praying. They are. But nobody owes me anything. And if tomorrow, God forbid, I’ll hear the worst news, I don’t want my children to feel that where did all my prayers go?”

Horovitz continued- “In their different ways, each of the families urged Israelis to remain united and strong, hailed our solidarity, thanked us for our hopes and our prayers.

Yair Miller

Yair Miller

They refused to be tainted by the inhumanity that robbed them of their beloved sons. Our hearts go out to them.”

In Sydney we too came together and prayed, supported each other and added to the feeling of Klal Yisrael – K’Ish Echad, Beleiv Echad. Like one person with one heart. We joined in giving the families hope.

Rabbi Yehuda Niassohf

Rabbi Yehuda Niassohf

We join today in sorrow and mourning but with continued dreams and prayers for a more peaceful and hopeful tomorrow.

May the memories of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel and the strength and dignity of their families always remind us of the kind of nation we want to be and can become. And may our enemies strive to love life as much as we do.

Zechher Kedoshim LivrachahYehi Zichram BaruchAm Yisrael Chai

The Sydney meeting began with a minute’s silence followed by Yizkor. A candle was lit for each of the murdered boys  ahead of a warm emotional talk by Abi Blackman. Rabbi Yehuda Niassohf recited  very soulful rendition of El Male Rachamim followed by Kaddish and Hatikva.

The event was organised by the ZCNSW and ZFA with the co-operation of Moriah College.

This article prepared by Steve Yarrow/J-Wire Melbourne  and Henry Benjamin/J-Wire Sydney


Gallery: Sydney event


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