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Dear Ari

Dear Ari

Ari Weiss was the first person I have personally known who was murdered defending the Land of Israel.


Ari Weiss was the first person I have personally known who was murdered defending Eretz Yisrael. My deepest sympathies go out to Rabbi Weiss and Susie, Pnina, Tali, Eli, Yedidya, and Ayelet.

I met the Weiss family the day they arrived in Israel, 10 years ago. Everyone in Ra'anana was so excited that a new family from the U.S. was making Aliyah and joining our community, and many people came to the Mercaz Klita (Absorption Centre) to meet this new family. I was especially excited to hear that a girl my age was arriving, (Pnina) as I myself had only made Aliyah one year before -- I was 14 years old.

I have so many memories of growing up, living across the street from the Weiss family. In the 10 years that they have been here, they are one of the most well known families in Ra'anana. So many people are feeling the pain of this tragedy.

Making Aliyah is by no means simple. There are many obstacles standing in the way. Family and friends thinking you are crazy, some on the verge of never speaking to you again. Where to live, what employment opportunities will be available -- if any at all, the language barrier, the difference of mentality, will the children fit in socially and academically, and not to mention the security situation, combined with the possibility of father and children having to serve in the Israel Defense Force.

The Weiss family moved to Israel, making enormous sacrifices. Good jobs, a nice community, and they came with their children ranging in ages from baby to teenager. Ari's full name is Ari Yehoshua, sharing the same Hebrew initials as Eretz Yisrael. Their daughter Ayelet Tziona, who was born the week of Ari's Bar Mitzvah, was their first child born in Israel.

Ari's life could have been much easier living back in Texas, but he gave his life for the Jewish people.

At Ari's funeral, I noticed that the friends who spoke of him were all Israeli. Ari acclimatized to life in Israel so well. He never felt that making Aliyah was a burden. He was truly happy to be living here and to serve in the army. His life could have been much easier living back in Texas, but he gave his life for the Jewish people.

I have made Aliyah twice -- once with my parents and brother from Los Angeles, and once with my husband and daughter from Melbourne, Australia. An Israeli friend once told me that she didn't understand why American Jews would make Aliyah. I proceeded to list all the negative things about life in America, but then I realized that we didn't move to Israel because of those aspects of American life. We came here because of the very positive, very wonderful things about our homeland, our Holy Land. I believe I was meant to live here. Through the good and bad, this is my home. Ever since I was a little girl, I thought about Israel. When my parents made Aliyah, I did not come kicking and screaming; I was so happy and joyful. Every positive thing about myself is due to growing up, from 9th grade, in Israel. All my values and ideals, I owe to the life Israel gave me. I would not be the Jew I am today if I hadn't made Aliyah.

Every day as I walk my children down the streets of Ramat Beit Shemesh, we see many army helicopters flying overhead. Our daughter, Hanna Aliza always asks me about them. I look up and know that it is only because of them I am able to walk peacefully in the streets of my homeland, the homeland I always wanted to live in as a child, and the homeland my heart cried out for during the three years I was in Australia.

Ari, our brave soldier, it is because of you that my family is able to live such a pleasant life here in Israel. You did so much for me and I thank you. Your family will never be the same and neither will Am Yisrael. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry that I have never given to Am Yisrael what you have given to it. I'm going to try even harder now to bring about the final redemption, so we can all meet again, so I can thank you in person, and so we will have no more sorrow.

When I came home from paying a shiva call at your parents' house, I found myself singing quietly because it makes me feel better when I'm sad. I realized I was singing the song "Aidel Weiss" from the film "The Sound of Music." Aidel Weiss! How appropriate! For that's what you are, Ari Yehoshua Weiss... "Aidel Weiss, Aidel Weiss... Bless my homeland forever..."

We are all thinking of you, Ari, and we are with your family and friends at this time. Watch over us, and please tell Hashem that the pain is so terrible, but also thank Him for giving you to your family, to all of Ra'anana and to all of Am Yisrael. It is because of you, and all of our soldiers, that we are still (trying) standing strong, never giving up, still having so much hope. As your father requested at your funeral, let us all sing together "Am Yisrael Chai," in honor of you, our dear, brave Ari Weiss, of blessed memory.

October 12, 2002

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Visitor Comments: 5

(5) Miriam-Sol, February 23, 2004 12:00 AM

Thanks for your words

It is the first time that I am surfing the Aish site.Suddenly I saw the name Ari Weiss from Raanana.
We live in front of Amihai's house, one of Ari's best friend.
My 3 children served the army and I am proud of that.
My youngest daughter was at that time in the army in Metula and Ramat-Hagolan in a special unit.
Each time she took the buses to and from the camp, I would fear and pray god for her safe arrival.
Amihai told us how Ari loved to be with friends, laugh and enjoy life!
I have such a pain and saddness for the loss of each young soldier and each person that gives his life for the country.
Thanks to them we live here.

(4) Andrea, October 17, 2002 12:00 AM

Sharing your pain

There so many, too many, sad stories of young lives ending in violence in this awful war. I don't know why this one has touch me so much more than the others. Maybe it was the stories that ran about the family in the Jerusalem Post before and after Ari's death. It seems so close to home...perhaps it is because my son's name is Aryeh...nearly the same, or maybe because my maiden name is Weiss. Whatever the reason, you are in my heart and my prayers. May peace come quickly to Israel and the world before any more mothers need to shed tears.

(3) ira, October 14, 2002 12:00 AM

i on behalf of my family.i would like to say i ma sorry for what happened to ari and we believe that he already at paradise. and i also would like to say to all the soldier:"keep figting for israel,thta is you land not the philistine"

(2) Lori Nowlin, October 13, 2002 12:00 AM

Sending my love.

I wish I could hold all of you in my arms the way the Lord can. I feel I know you all. I feel your hurt. For days I grieve for you. God has Ari we have a hole in our heart. I pray for you and your country. I love you and all our brothers and sisters there. May God bless and keep you all safe. What else can I say except Shalom from your american friend. Lori

(1) Avigdor, October 13, 2002 12:00 AM

So much pain....yet so United

So much pain when we lose our own brothers and sisters for the sake of Am Yisrael....but i can see so much will power of all these people that have sacrifiesed something in their lives to bring the redemption by standing one next to each other, It's so beautiful to see people that really care for their Nation and live for the sake of Israel...may we stay truly United in our people and Unite as we never been before!!! My love to Am Yisrael, Avigdor

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