Who Else was Murdered with Ezra Schwartz?
The murder last week of 18-year-old American yeshiva student, Ezra Schwartz from Massachusetts, hit us close to home. My husband runs a program for 18-year-old Modern Orthodox American girls, many of whom knew Ezra or were his classmates at Maimonides in Boston.
Ezra was a student at Yeshivat Ashreinu in Beit Shemesh, and was planning on attending Rutgers University next year. On the day he was killed, he had been distributing food to lone IDF soldiers and visiting the memorial for the murdered teenagers, Gilad, Eyal, and Naftali.
This video of Ezra’s friends and classmates parting with Ezra at Ben Gurion Airport transported me back to the horrific night 20 years ago when I also parted with friends in flag-covered coffins.
In February 1996, two weeks before our wedding, our friends, Sara Duker and Matt Eisenfeld HY”D, were murdered in a bus bombing.
Sara and Matt were incredible people– idealistic, driven, brilliant, sincere. If they had survived, I am sure they would have made a huge contribution to the Jewish people and the world.
I often walk by the memorial plaque for the victims killed in that bus bombing near the Central Bus Station. But just last week, for the first time in a long time, I stopped to look at it, and I noticed something…
Over the years, Sara and Matt’s names have been worn away, and have nearly disappeared.
Seeing this plaque, I was reminded of a comment which JewishMOM reader Tamar Stone left this past Israeli Memorial Day. She wrote:
“Today we honor my uncle, Yitzchak ben Eliezer Zilberman. He fell in the first Latrun attempt in the War of Independence.
“Just as we learn that saving a person’s life is equal to saving a whole world, losing one life is like losing a whole world: children, grandchildren, cousins, uncles & aunts….
“We cannot put into words the effect of living with such a loss, even one that happened 67 years ago…”
When people die so young, like Ezra and Sara and Matt HY”D, we tend to mourn the immediate loss. Ezra will never see his family again or go to college. Sara and Matt would never stand together underneath a chuppah as they had dreamed.
But looking back 20 years, as we, Sara and Matt’s friends, watch our children grow up, I understand that the murder of a single Jew is the murder of a generation of children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren who will never be born…
Wiped out, like the names of the beautiful Jews on that memorial plaque.
May Hashem provide comfort to the mourning parents and siblings of Ezra, Sara, and Matt and all victims of terror, and may Hashem bless the Jewish people and the whole world with peace and security and life.