Rivka bat Yael Update: The Extraordinary Razels

Please continue to pray for an immediate and miraculous recovery for 4-year-old Rivka bat Yael Razel, the oldest child of singer Yonatan Razel and my daughter Moriah’s good friend and nursery school classmate, who remains unconscious and hospitalized in critical condition.

Last week, Yael, Rivki’s mother said that her greatest fear at this point is that the 1000s of people who have been praying for Rivki around the world will, as the weeks pass, simply forget about her daughter. Rivki’s parents firmly believe that it is the prayers of Jews like you around the world that are keeping their precious Rivki alive, and it is prayer as well that will bring about her ultimate recovery, please G-d!

And this week, Rivki’s parents saw the power of prayer in action. After father Yonatan prayed in Meron on Lag Ba’omer, and after Yonatan and 19 other men in Nachlaot announced a day-long fast and conducted an emotional, tear-filled prayer service for Rivki’s recovery this week, Rivki’s doctors immediately noticed small but significant improvements in Rivki’s condition.

In summary, while there have been some hopeful signs, little Rivki is still desperately in need of our prayers. Please try to say at least one psalm a day for the complete and speedy recovery of Rivka bat Yael.
Here’s the psalm that I’ve been saying every day for Rivki, which you could also say right now for Rivka bat Yael:

The Razels. All over Israel and the world people know this name because of Razel brothers Aaron and Yonatan, who are major celebrities on the Israeli religious music scene.

But in my neighborhood, Nachlaot, the Razels are famous for a different reason. They are famous for being an extraordinary family.

Over 30 years ago, when Nachlaot was nothing more than an inner-city slum filled with drug addicts, decaying hovels, and a handful of legendary Sephardic Tsaddikim, Professors Carol and Micha Razel decided to buy a home and raise their 4 children here.

Over the past decades, Nachlaot has changed a ton. But at least one thing has remained constant on the ever-evolving Nachlaot landscape—the Razel family.

Today, all four Razel children, Yonatan, Aaron, Ricka (Van Leeuwen), and Yehuda are married and living with their growing families within 2 blocks of Grandma and Grandpa Micha and Carol. If you are walking within that 2 block radius, you are sure to see Razel grandchildren running back and forth to play with their best friends– their cousins, on their way to attend daily afternoon lessons in Torah and English at their grandparent’s home, or walking with Grandma Carol or an Aunt or Uncle on their way to or home from nursery school.

In a world where the norm is quickly becoming extended families living cities and even continents apart, the Razels have chosen to go against the flow- staying close in terms of geography and spirit as well.

Since Rivki’s terrible accident two weeks ago, I have been amazed (though not surprised) to see how this incredible family is inseparable—in health…and in sickness as well.

Yonatan’s parents, siblings, and sisters and brother-in-law have been at the hospital constantly, trading off every morning, every afternoon, every night, so that Rivki’s parents, Yonatan and Yael, have not had to spend a single hour alone by Rivki’s bedside since the accident.

Of course, being the Razels, this kind of loyalty and self-sacrifice for family is simply assumed. When I told Rivki’s aunt how impressed I was by how much time she was spending at the hospital, even though she is the mother of a large family, she looked surprised, even upset, by my comment. “This didn’t just happen to Rivki’s parents,” she insisted, “it happened to all of us, and it’s affecting all of us. Of course we want to do everything we can.”

I’ve told Grandma Carol many times, and I will tell you as well, that my (no longer) secret dream is that in a few decades I will be just like her. Surrounded by my own children and grandchildren, feeding them chicken and cholent every Shabbat, and walking a crowd of grandchildren (please G-d!) to nursery school every day that G-d gives me the strength to walk these hectic and holy alleyways of Nachlaot.


  1. Beautiful words of inspiration. I continue to pray for Rivki.

  2. Jeri Murray

    At least one non-Jew is praying as well.

  3. Sara Leah Epstein

    Thank you. We are praying for her here in Mass.

  4. Just to mention that I know the entire Razel family even before most of them were born. Rika was only 2. They are next-door neighbors and we are all praying for little Rivka. And as long as I see anyone in that entire extended family with smiles on their faces, which I do, I know that things are on the up and mend … and I hear only positive things from them

  5. I’ve been praying for her around the clock as I belong to a tehilim group and pray on my own. I’m even dedicating the saying of Asher Yatzar in her zechut.

    Ease the burden on the Razels by alerting them to a book that Rabbi Dr. Avraham Twerski recommends: It’s MY Crisis! And I’ll Cry If I Need To: EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge at http://www.booklocker.com/books/4244.html

    Get more information and a free peek at the text at http://www.itsmycrisisandillcryifineedto.blogspot.com/

    Ask Rivka’s orthopedic specialists about Dynasplint physical rehabilitation products. I am the only person in Israel licensed to sell them. Hadassa Ein Kerem’s orthopedic surgery doctors have met with me and know that Dynasplint has no competitor. If financial woes had not interfered, they would have bought several models. Maybe some baalei chesed can help with that.

    May the Av HaRachamim bless Rivka bat Yael with refua v’yeshua shlaima bimheira.

  6. HaShem should please heal Rivka bat Yael. A complete healing of body and spirit.

  7. thank you for the update and for reminding me to be vigilant.
    Said the tehila and back to dedicating ‘Asher Yatzar’ to ‘Maphlii L’astot’ for dear Rivka bat Yael… May the family and all Am Yisrael be strengthened and inspired.

  8. I have been a nextdoor neighbor (three doors down the street) from the Razels (Carol and Micha) since 1978 and have watched all the children grow … and now the grandchildren 🙂 and it is always a constant source of great pleasure to see them all and to continue my lifetime relationship with the kids (Yonatan, Aaron, Rika and Yehuda) and I appreciate this blog

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