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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Remembering the victims

"We stand at attention in memory of our fallen comrades."
Terror victims are often special people.
 'His face would glow with joy,' say friends of yeshiva attack victim
By Nadav Shragai, Yair Ettinger and Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Correspondents
Friends and family of eight young men killed in a terrorist attack Thursday at the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem spoke to Haaretz about the fallen victims.
Time and again, bereaved relatives and friends recounted young scholars passionate about their Torah studies and devoted to helping others.
"His face would glow with joy"
Doron Meherete, 26
Friends of Doron Meherete, the oldest of the eight students murdered Thursday at Mercaz Harav yeshiva, say that his face would glow with joy as he studied with them. Meherete, who came from Ethiopia in 1991 in Operation Solomon, studied for nine years at the yeshiva, where he was known for his trenchant mind and kind heart, challenging others intellectually and lending a helping hand whenever needed.
He was also a counselor at an after-school program for immigrant Ethiopian children. Three years ago he joined the army, under a special arrangement for advanced yeshiva students, served nine months in the armored corps, and fought as a reservist in the Second Lebanon War. He was preparing to become a rabbi, and had already taken some of his ordination exams. Hundreds attended his funeral in Ashdod on Friday. Meherete is survived by two parents and six siblings.
"Like an angel"
Avraham David Moses, 16
Avraham David Moses, 16, left behind parents and five brothers aged between two and 11. His parents divorced, remarried and live nearby each other in Efrat. At his funeral, Avraham David's father recounted that his son had visited him at home last Saturday. "I blessed you, put my hand on your head and suddenly grasped how much you had grown in spirit. You did not break. The murderers broke you. You were not a fighter but a loving person - you loved the Torah and studying the Torah. You ended your life studying the Torah."
Avraham David's stepfather, David Moria, said the boy was "like an angel. He had amazing integrity." His mother, Rivka, said thanks for "the 16 years we had the privilege of raising him, 16 years of purity of heart and honesty."
On Thursday night, when they heard of the attack, Avraham David's parents tried to find him but he had no mobile phone. They called all the hospitals in Jerusalem and when they couldn't find his name in any of the lists of the injured, they realized they'd lost their son.

"Everybody always wanted to be with him"
Neria Cohen, 15
Neria Cohen, who was laid to rest at the Mount of Olives cemetery Friday, grew up in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City, one of 12 children born to Ayala and Rabbi Yitzhak Cohen. His father is a rabbi at the Esh HaTorah hesder yeshiva in the Jewish Quarter, and was for many years among the heads of the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva in the Muslim Quarter.
Many in Neria's extended family are active in programs that combine religious studies with community outreach and education in poor towns. "Neria's most striking quality was boundless joy. Everyone always wanted to be with him," said Eliezer Avni, a ninth-grade counselor at the Mercaz Harav affiliate where Neria studied. "He was a boy who lived all the ideals in the world, who enlisted for every mission, whether it was activity on behalf of Jonathan Pollard, or on behalf of communities, or the needy."

"A pure soul with a good heart"
Segev Pniel Avichail, 15
Neveh Daniel
Segev Pniel Avichail, who was buried Friday in Jerusalem's Har Hamenuhot Cemetery, was the grandson of two well-known rabbis: Rabbi Eliahu Avichail, who studied the Ten Lost Tribes and their disappearance; and Rabbi Yehoshua Zuckerman, the founder of the El Ami movement and teacher at Har Hamor Yeshiva. Segev Pniel's father, Rabbi Elishav Avichail, is the rabbi of Adora, in the south Hebron hills. His mother, Moriah, was head of a girls art school in the community. A few years ago, Segev Pniel and his father escaped injury in a shooting attack on the Telem road. Segev Pniel was the oldest of four children. An uncle, Yair, described him Friday as a "serious student, a pure soul with a good heart."
"A good soul with extraordinary ability"
Yohai Livshitz, 18
Yohai Livshitz was the second of six children born to Tuvia, a supervisor in Jerusalem's Kotel Yeshiva and Zofiya, a teacher. They live in the city's Jewish Quarter. "His most outstanding quality was his innocence," said Zvi Yehuda Herling, one of the Kotel Yeshiva's instructors, at the funeral. "He had a constant desire to search for his own truth, whether it was to rise before everyone and go to synagogue to study before morning prayer or practice for his army service."
"Thank you for everything you've done and given for 18 years," his father said at the funeral. Yohai's cousin, Jonathan Kelerman, said: "He was a good soul with an extraordinary ability to persist studying the Torah. Even up to his death he was studying Torah in the library."
"An admired guide"
Yehonadav Haim Hirshfeld, 19
Kochav Hashachar
Yehonadav Haim Hirshfeld was the fifth of 13 children born to one of the oldest families in Kochav Hashachar, a community in the Matte Binyamin regional council. His father, Zemah, serves as a mohel in the community and its surroundings. His mother, Elisheva, is a housewife.
Yehonadav went to a highschool yeshiva near Mercaz Harav and later continued to study at the yeshiva itself, where he was killed on Thursday evening. He was a "talented young man with broad horizons, intelligent, and an admired guide in the Ariel youth movement," Haya Meir, a neighbor, said.
When his parents heard of the terror attack on the yeshiva they couldn't get a hold of their son, because he had no mobile phone.
The yeshiva's emergency hotline also couldn't help them and they sent relatives to look for Yehonadav. Finally, after midnight, the community's rabbi arrived to inform them officially of his death.
"Full of joie de vivre"
Yonatan Yitzchak Eldar, 16
Yonatan Yitzchak Eldar was buried with his copy of the Nedarim Tractate of the Babylonian Talmud, soaked in his blood. Despite the celebration scheduled at the yeshiva later that evening for the start of the new month, Yonatan didn't want to miss learning his daily page of Talmud and had taken the book with him to the library. One friend says he saw Yonatan studying alone at 1 A.M. Wednesday.
"Usually you think of someone so young who is so deeply involved in Torah study as being square, but Yonatan wasn't at all like that," said Rabbi Uri Bayar, an educator in Shiloh and a friend of the Eldar family. "He was full of joie de vivre and had many interests," Bayar said.Yonatan Yitzchak was buried in Shiloh. After the funeral his friends gathered at the home of one of them and told stories about their friend. They recalled his love of hiking but also noted that he learned the rules of orienteering out of a book. Yonatan Yitzchak is survived by six brothers and one sister.
His father, Dror, works in high tech. His mother, Avital, is a teacher.
"He felt very close to God"
Roee Roth, 18
Roee Roth's friends described him as very spiritual. "He felt very
close to God, and about every problem he would say, 'That, too, is from God' and tried to understand what God wanted from him," Eyal, his roommate and friend from home, related. "He prayed long and loud and everyone in the beit midrash [study hall] could hear his 'Amen,'" another friend from Elkana and fellow student at Mercaz Harav, Menashe Zimmerman, said. "He came late to meals, after his prayers."
Roee's decision to study at Mercaz Harav, with its high demands, was part of a spiritual journey that began in high school. In 11th grade Roee stopped studying Jujitsu, in which he already had a brown belt, because he felt it was cutting into his study time. Roee was the son of Orly and Yaakov Roth. In addition to his parents, he is survived by four siblings

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