On July 26, 2002, Palestinian gunmen sprayed bullets on Israeli cars near the Jewish village of Carmel, killing four people and injuring three others. Three of the dead were members of the Dickstein family, including both parents, Yosef Yaakov and Chana, and their 9-year-old son, who were on their way to spend the Sabbath with friends.
Twelve-year-old Shlomo Dickstein, who was badly wounded in the attack, took his father's cellphone and called the army for help, as his parents lay dying next him.
Yosef Yaakov's father was a Holocaust survivor. Now the Dicksteins are survived by 9 children -- 9 new orphans of Palestinian terror.
Following is the eulogy delivered by the Dickstein's oldest child.
What can I say now? Which words can describe the magnitude of this calamity? How can I speak in the past tense of all the people who we loved the most? About Abba? About Ima? And Shuva'el? Suddenly, everything has been cut off in the middle.
Abba, on Thursday night until 2:30 in the morning, we were working together on the Sukkah, and we were in the middle of studying a Torah passage. Who will continue this?
Know, Abba and Ima, that we, your children, received a strong education, an education with ideals, and even when you are not here physically, it continues to strengthen us according to your path. You decided to leave Jerusalem, the easy life, the places of work that were close to home, even though there was nothing pressing. But you still decided, during these difficult times for the Jews in Israel, to move, and to try to strengthen and be strengthened. To acquire by actions the beloved land that you so loved, love of which you so transferred to us, with many trips around the country. And by teaching us.
"Beloved land, do not cover your blood!"
...Abba, how happy you were that I am studying in Beit El. We studied together on Fridays. Ima relieved you from all the Shabbat preparations, and you would come and we would learn for some two hours. As the time passed, we saw how our spiritual worlds began to take on parallel lines. You saw me walking in the same path that you took 25 years ago, when you started out as a student in Rabbi Avraham HaKohen Kook's yeshiva. How much joy and satisfaction you had from me. Abba, I so much wanted to be like you. To be "a son like his father..."
Last night, we sat together, all the children, and we all recounted how in this last period of your lives, you both felt satisfaction. Tzofiyah said that you told her just a week ago, "We are as if dreaming. We have reached our 'resting place and inheritance.'" You knew that you had found your place. You felt good in Psagot. You succeeded in fulfilling in the best way all of your ideals.
You reached your eternal rest. But what will be with us?
Yes, you reached your eternal rest. But what will be with us? Who will be the Ima of Adiel?? Who will be the father to Shir-el?? You so much wanted to see us getting married. Who will walk us down to the marriage canopy??
Everything that you built in the house, was built with the future in mind. You wanted there to be room for everyone -- everything on a "large" scale. Now you won't merit seeing your grandchildren...
In my name, and in the name of all the children, we promise to preserve the unity of our family, to stay together, even at the price of giving up personal dreams. This is what you wanted all these years, and this is what we will try to do.
We, the family, believe that this tremendous sacrifice that we made is not just a personal sacrifice. Our pain is not just a private pain. Abba and Ima were not killed in a gang war, or in a car accident, or because of any sins of theirs. Shuva'el who did not taste the taste of sin certainly was not murdered for that. Abba and Ima and Shuva'el were murdered, in the light of day, in front of their children, by a cruel, debased murderer, because they were Jews who lived freely in their state that they so loved, without fear.
Jewish people: this sacrifice is for all of us! Everyone must feel this pain. Everyone must understand, know, and feel that they have taken the best of our nation.
The Holy One, Blessed be He, is shaking us and telling us, Wake up!
The Holy One, Blessed be He, is speaking to us via the day-to-day reality. He is shaking us and telling us, Wake up! Understand who we are, and what we are doing here in the Land of Israel! Why are we here?
Unfortunately, we have been tested with many tragedies of late. To tell others that "the Land of Israel is acquired with difficulty," that "acquiring with difficulty is an eternal acquisition,” that "God only tests those who can withstand the ordeals” -- that is not so hard. But to tell it to ourselves -- that is hard. And to really feel it - that's even harder.
But no one asked us whether or not we want to be heroes. We didn't want, and we weren't ready, but we were forced. We were forced to be strong. We will try, with the help of all of you, to be strong. We will add faith, we will add courage, we will add strength. We don't know how we will keep going in this insane situation. We don't know what will be with us -- both the little ones, and those of us children who are somewhat older but still feel little. But we know with certainty that we will go on. We will work hard, and we will strive, and we will overcome, and we will go on.
All that we have been saying about accepting the Divine judgment with love, does not take away even a whit of responsibility from those who were supposed to be in charge: The leaders of the state and its ministers, who are abusing their job for which they were elected, and are not doing enough to prevent incidents like this, or to uplift the nation. This is their job. If they don't want to do it, then they should give it to someone else who can do it.
We, the family, decided yesterday to bury you in Psagot, in the land that is precious to you, the place they decided on their own that it would be their place. Abba and Ima spent the last two years, and all their resources, to build this house. The fear never occurred to them that we would not be able to live everywhere in Israel. I heard people who tried to weaken them, but Abba and Ima were strong and did not break. Abba and Ima decided that this would be their place, and that of the family. We the children are setting up our base in Psagot.
Our struggle is that of all the Jewish people. Jews throughout the generations are with us.
Our struggle is that of all the Jewish people. Jews throughout the generations are with us. Abba and Ima and Shuva'el are with us. We will continue together, without fear.
Shuva'el, the little one, so cute... I remember when you were born... A boy who was all joy to his parents, a good boy, a good influence to his brothers. Such a good friend. So sweet, a tzaddik [righteous]. You never had to be reminded to study, the one who everyone loved, a smart boy, who reads books. They murdered you when you were reading, and your head fell on the book. A tzaddik, so pure -- you never did bad to anyone.
Abba and Ima: Please watch over us from where you are, on your sons and daughters: Tzvi Yehuda, Tzofiyah, Ayelet, Didi, Renanah, Shuva - ah, Shlomo. And watch over the little ones, Bnayah, Shir-el, and Adiel, who will not get to know their own parents.
Watch over all of us, the orphans. It's hard to digest that we are called orphans... We know that you are with us, help us be strong.
Before I conclude, I want to ask, in the name of all the children, forgiveness from you -- for any offense that we did you, or chutzpah, or argument. I beg that you forgive us, holy Abba and Ima, and Shuva'el.
"And the Almighty will wipe away the tears from every face, and swallow up death forever."