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Voices from the Valley of Death

Voices from the Valley of Death

A message to the Jews of the world from bereaved families during shiva.


From Hannah Nechmad, who lost a son, a daughter-in-law, and six grandchildren: Eliyahu (16), Saul (15), Lidor (11), Shiraz (6), Liran (3), and Oria (1) in the Beit Yisrael Bar Mitzvah terrorist attack:

"I want that all Jews should do tshuvah [turn toward God]. If every Jewish child would recite 'Shema Yisrael' and a chapter of Psalms every day, that would save us."

From Dahlia Nechmad, whose two sons Saul (15) and Eliyahu (16) were murdered in the Beit Yisrael Bar Mitzvah terrorist attack:

"Rabbi Akiva was right when he said that 'Love your neighbor as yourself' is the fundamental principle of the Torah. Love is the key. It is the secret of life. If there were unity between Jews, if every Jew loved every other Jew, that would stop the terror attacks.

"From my experience, I see that if you have love, you have everything. First a person must love his family, then the people of his city, then his nation, then the whole world.

"As the sages say, 'the world is built on chesed [acts of loving kindness].' Even one kind word, even a little smile, is enough to uplift our situation. The chesed that I received from other people -- the nurses, the people sent by Kids for Kids -- during the almost four months Eli was in Intensive Care, that's what kept me on my feet.

"Kids for Kids sent a volunteer named Avraham Berger to give Eli massages while he was in the coma. While Avraham was massaging Eli, he would encourage him with his words, saying, 'We love you. Don't worry about anything. Everything will be all right.' Loving words give life."

From Avner Franklin, whose daughter Michal (21) was murdered in the French Hill terrorist attack:

"The Peace Process has obviously ended. And the process we have to work on now is the rehabilitation of the whole nation. We have to come together as a united people, and pray to God to end the suffering. As a united people, we have to make the decision as to how to eradicate the hurtful and destructive Arab campaign to destroy all our children."

From Sarah Franklin, whose daughter Michal (21) was murdered in the French Hill terrorist attack:

"All the Jews of the world should come to Israel. And if you'll ask me, 'Aren't you afraid for your other children?' of course I'm afraid. But what are we going to do? Run away? All of the people who think they support us by sending money here, we need them to be here physically, to contribute to the security, to send their sons to the army, to pay taxes. The Jews of the world should come and be with us and share the burden with us."

Read A Tale of Two Families for an in-depth look at the Franklin and Nechmad families.

Sara Yoheved Rigler’s all-encompassing online marriage program, “Choose Connection: How to Revive and Rejuvenate Your Marriage” is available to readers at a special price. Click here for more info:

June 29, 2002

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Visitor Comments: 5

(5) Anonymous, July 5, 2002 12:00 AM

The terror and the tragedies in Israel brought on by Palestinian suicide bombers have truly sent a shock wave through the whole world. This wave begins here with these families who have been so tragically scarred by these terrible events. How can anyone watch the news and not think: what if that was my son, my daughter, my grandmother, my father? And yet, in the midst of these tragic human events, the rabbis teach us to love - to love our neighbor as ourself - even if that neighbor be a Palestinian! There is no greater testimony to the truth of Torah than that we love and that we - as a people - join together to support our Jewish brothers and sisters in the face of this senseless violence. If we do that - Mosiach may come - and this violence will have its end.

(4) Clive Jacobson, July 3, 2002 12:00 AM

I wish i was there for you

Abner and Sarah , I wish I was there for you . I still remember her first violin when she statred lessons . May Hashem grant us a full Geulah soon . Clive JACOBSON

(3) Keith Ironside, July 2, 2002 12:00 AM

Humanity is defined by behavior.

No one can excuse the behavior of those who would commit these acts of terror. A dark force is alive in the world. I will begin with Shema Yisrael.

(2) neal gagnon, July 1, 2002 12:00 AM


week after week, something horrible happens in ISREAL, week after week, we greive for the familys that have lost loved ones, is prayer the only thing we can do? PS. 122

(1) Jonathan Coull, June 30, 2002 12:00 AM

I will read a psalm and say a prayer

I am an American convert. I just returned home from seeing 6 concentration camps and numerous Jewish historical sites in Europe- I backpacked 25 to 30 cities and towns in 1 and a half months. At least that, anyway, I lost count. I was with an 82 year old Auchwitz-Burkaneau survivor. I learned much from him not only about being a Jew, but about being a human being and a decent man. It changed me for the better- forever. I have come to appreciate the oppression of the Jews, or any party that is the brunt of poor education and/or ignorance, as well as the dangers of being a Jew, first hand. In Poland, there was anti-Semetic spray painting and art all over the city walls, and people spit on the sidewalk when we passed by in Chelm. Skin heads in a Polish town in the Carpathian Mountains tried to accost us. I am luckily 6'1" tall and weigh 195 lbs., and was able to manage the problem for our 82 year old friend. I will do it again if I have to, and I wish there was more I can do. If I am ever in Israel in the next year (and I might be- I am a grad student of history), and I can do anything, email me and I will be there. This is a serious offer, I say never say anything like this without sentiment that is true and sincere. Every person picks a side of something at some time in life, and I have made my decision some time ago. Blessings to the families and G-d speed to the souls of the departed. May their heirs live in great health and good fortune. Take care and I hope you find comfort and direction in the Almighty as I do. I hope we all find a way to peace in our own hearts some day, so our children can merely listen to the lessons of history as I did, and not live them out in the spiritual pain as you do. Take care and I only hope He gives what is necessary to heal. My heart goes out to you. Sincerely, Jonathan

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