Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Breaking the Chain of Pain

Breaking the Chain of Pain
March 19, 2002

It was one year ago, that hideous day, when an Arab terrorist sniper lined up his scope, pulled the trigger and ended the life of 10 month old Shalhevet Pass, hy?d. Shalhevet?s murder touched the lives and hearts of tens of thousands of people around the world and in Israel. Messages of condolences poured in from all four corners of the earth. The pain of an infant?s needless and brutal slaying sparked an outcry that knew no borders, no boundaries. People of all races and religions expressed their sorrow to Yitzik and Oriya Pass, Shalhevet?s bereaved parents.

What can one say to two young people whose first-born child is so abruptly taken from them? Is there any consolation? Yitzik and Oriya, despite their pain, despite their loss, resolved to overcome, to rise above their private suffering. They did not leave Hebron. Rather they continued their lives and were blessed, thank G-d, with a second child, again, a little girl, who they named Renana Nechama. In Hebrew, Renana means joy andNechama means comfort. Their comfort, their condolence, is reflected in the continuing of their lives, in their new-born daughter, in their joy , living in their homeland, living their faith. The word Shalhevet means flame. The initials of Renana Nechama ? in Hebrew Nun ? Reish, is the word Ner, which means candle. Renana Nechama, a tiny candle, the continuance of Shalhevet?s flame.

Last week, while in a parlor meeting in the United States, a woman raised her hand and told the participants, ?Only a few weeks ago I was visiting in Hebron. I was introduced to a young woman, with a baby in her arms and was told her name was Oriya Pass, Shalhevet?s mother. This woman was sitting at the playground, very close to where her first child was killed last year, sitting underneath those very hills, Abu Sneneh, where the terrorist sniper shot from. She sat there with her child, showing no fear, no apprehension. What faith, what unbelievable conviction!?

Shalhevet?s murder could have been a turning point, an event, as tragic as it was, that could have changed history. Unfortunately, there were hearts sealed to the unfolding catastrophe, hearts of people who had and still have, the power and ability to stop the bloodshed. Rather than attempt to bring an end to the terror and warfare, our so-called leaders remained blind to the reality of Arafatism ? an attempt to annihilate the State of Israel. The result of this blindness has been the murder of hundreds - men, women and children - and the wounding of thousands of innocent people, whose only crime is continuing to live as Jews in Israel.

As we approached the first anniversary of Shalhevet?s murder, it was decided to express our grief, not as an individual community, rather, as an expression of the anguish of thousands who have lost loved ones in the past year and a half. On Wednesday afternoon Hebron is initiating a march to awaken those still slumbering ? saying to all that we live in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel). The march will leave from different parts of Israel and meet in Tel Aviv at the Dolphinarium, site of one of the most horrific terror attacks resulting in the death and injury of dozens of Israeli youth. Speaking at the Dolphinarium will be Yitzik Pass, Shalhevet?s father. From there the procession will continue to the Peres Center for Peace, established by the instigator of Oslo, Shimon Peres, who is personally responsible for much of the devastation. Speaking there will be Hebron community director Noam Arnon. The procession will then leave Tel Aviv for Jerusalem with everyone meeting early in the evening at the Kotel ? the Western Wall. There we will conduct a special prayer service, asking the L-rd in heaven to protect his flock, to bring wisdom to our leaders and to bring an end to the current madness.

In this way we wish to articulate our hope that the chain of pain will be broken and that our prayers will be answered.

Anyone desiring to participate in Wednesday?s march may get more information by calling 1-800-400-456 in Israel or at our web site ? in English at ShalhevetMarch.htm and in Hebrew at Aeroim.html.

With blessings from Hebron.

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