JWR Wandering Jews

Jewish World Review June 19, 2002 / 9 Tamuz, 5762


Lives on the
Bus of Death, Con't.

http://www.jewishworldreview.com | With this dispatch, we offer brief vignettes of the latest "sacrifices for peace." Yesterday witnessed the deadliest Arab bombing in Jerusalem in six years. Among those who died were individuals who had previously cheated death, an Ethiopian girl who feared the end was near, and a would-be ballerina.

How sad, nay, pathetic, that the snuffing out of human lives has become so frequent, that, in most of the media, the death of innocents is reduced to nothing more than another mark in a tally --- and afterthoughts.

1. Dr. Moshe Gottlieb came to the Holy Land from Los Angeles, where he had a thriving practice. At 70, nobody would have thought it unusual if he would have slowed down; stopped doing the Creator's work and enjoyed his well derserved "golden years." He didn't, though.

Every Tuesday, he would travel from his home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo to volunteer his services and expertise in various clinics around the country. Helping and healing children, that is what he did; that is what he lived for.

Dr. Gottlieb was en route to a clinic in the Tel Aviv suburb of B'nei Brak that treats children with Down's Syndrome, when he was killed.

2. Glila Bugla, 11, was born in Ethiopia. Every night, she would awaken from sounds of shots being fired into her suburban Jerusalem neighborhood by Arab terrorists. The deteriorating situation in Israel, the land of her dreams, was causing her nightmares. She was scared to venture out anywhere she did not have to go.

On Sunday, Glila informed her 5th grade class that a kind family in America had helped her struggling immigrant family to buy an apartment there. On July 10, they would move yet again, this time to New York.

Glila's body was blown to bits and today, that which is left of it, is buried here.

3. Shani Avitzedek, 15, was a 9th grader who dreamed of becoming a ballerina. Tomorrow, was to be her last day at school. She had a ballet performance scheduled for Sunday.

Yesterday, was the "Yom Kef" fun day. Her class had picked the Mesilat Zion pools as their destination. Shani's parents reminded her before she boarded the city bus for the start of her big day to make sure she had sufficient sunscreen and water.

She tried to calm her parents. "The sun won't kill me," she told them.

4. Mendel Barzon, 71, who emigrated from Russia in 1991, loved to ride the busses. A friendly fellow, he had many "commuter friends." In fact, yesterday morning, his son had offered to drive him to work, but he declined.

Mendel enjoyed a reputation as the best shoemaker/repairman in Jerusalem's Ben-Yehuda area. He survived the Ben Yehuda bombings and other terror attacks and was a leader in the Meretz party, which continues to believe peace can only come to the Jewish State via a reconciliation with Arafat. Mendel's body was blown to "peaces."

5. Gila Nekev, 55, was a Fench immigrant who settled in Israel 30 years ago. Gila was a bus rider, too. Gila never liked driving her car, as parking was always a hassle where she worked. Gila was a single mom who raised her three daughters, Ela, 28, Orit, 24, and Noa, 20.

She was always proud of her three soldier daughters. Yesterday, the three recited "Kaddish" together for Mom, who was to start her vacation today.

6. When Rachamim Tzidkyiahu, 51, arrived for work yesterday, he was thinking about the upcoming bar mitzvah of his son, Ron. The boy was to be called to the Torah for the very first time at Judaism's holiest site, the Western Wall. The date was to be "Shabbas Nachamu," the "Sabbath of Consolation," which follows Tisha B'Av, Judaism's annual day of mourning. Yesterday, Tisha B'Av arrived early. Instead of the boy's first public affirmation of his bond with the Jewish people being joyous, it was tragic, when he began to recite the word of "Kaddish."

7. Boaz Aluf, 54, had just celebrated his young son's bar mitzvah the previous week. He would give public lectures on Talmudic ethics every morning at 6:30 am, reminding the assembled at the beginning of the day to be good, G-d fearing folks.

His wife, Esther, a nurse, was on duty at the local hospital when she was informed of her husband's death. The call came, as she was scrambling about trying to treat other injured victims.

8. Michal Biazi, 24, had not ridden busses for months. She was terrorized by terrorism.

But yesterday, she made an exception, though not willingly.

In the afternoon, she and her husband were to attend the bris, circumcision, of their nephew. The childless couple were to be given a special honor that is said to act as "good luck" on their behalf.

That morning, as the two traveled to work, Michal remembered that she had forgotten her change of clothes at home. Not wanting his wife to be late, her husband offered to drop his wife off at a bus stop and pick up the clothing, which he would bring to the ceremony.

In a single day, the family went from celebrating the miracle of birth to mourning a senseless death.

9. Baruch Garani, 60, was on his way to Machane Yehuda shuk (open-air market) to buy vegetables. Though he was a regular customer, every time he would go, his wife would remind him to be "careful."

After the bombing at the bazaar, his children bought Baruch a cellphone, so they could be in touch instantaneously, should the need arise.

Two months ago, his wife was hospitalized at Shaarey Zedek in Jerusalem, an hour and a half walk from Baruch's home. On the Sabbath, he would trek to be at her bedside and recite the "Kiddish" sacrament. Yesterday, Baruch's wife and four children recited not "Kiddish," but "Kaddish" at the same hospital for him.

10. Liat Gan, 24, often sat next to her baby brother,Yoni, 16 on the bus. When the Arab boarded yesterday, Yoni whispered to his sister that he was suspicious; that he might be a terrorist. Seconds later, the bomb went off.

Yoni talked to his sister and tried to "revive" her. Yoni soon fell into a state of unconsciousness and thought that his sister had fainted.

Liat was engaged to be married in August.

11. Shiri Nagari, 22, is the third child of the five children of Dr. Tuvia and Esther Nagari. Dr. Tuvia is a well known dentist in Jerusalem and Esther is a mathematician for the government's statistic office. Shiri was a graduate of Pelech, a religious high school, where she graduated with honors before serving the Israel Defense Forces as a teacher.

Shiri had just returned from a year of studies in America. She was near the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and witnessed its destruction.

Shiri worked with Down's Syndrome children in Israel. Her charges cried at their friend's grave last night. Who will help these kids today in their hours of special needs?

12. Helena Avon, 63, immigrated from Romania, 20 years ago. Helena was a "nanny" and caregiver to the Mani family. She survived the earthquake at Bucharest many years ago, before settling here.

Helena had fed the family's dogs and boarded the bus to go to the city for errands when she was murdered by a different sort of animal.

13. Tania Braslavsky,41, immigrated to Israel 11 years ago with her husband and child. Tania was an engineer. She and her husband were fearful of raising a child in Russia. Her husband had been beaten by anti-Semites in the Mother Land for daring to wear his yarmulke (skullcap) in public.

Tania loved the sea. She would bring her family every weekend to Tel Aviv for surf, sun and fun. Her hands were found separated 100 meters from the bus' charred frame.

14. Rafael Berger, 27, served with the IDF as a reserve officer in Jenin during Passover. Only nine months ago, he and Orit, his wife, moved to Gilo. Rafael was working on his doctorate at the Hebrew University. He was supposed to finish oral exams next week for his Phd.

15. Leah Baruch, 59, worked for the office of the President of Israel for 23 years, as a housekeeper. She was a "mother" and a sister to the Presidents and their families.

Leah's funeral was attended by former First Ladies Herzog and Weizman, and by President and Mrs. Katzav.

16. Iaman Gazi, 25, was an Arab from Wadi Ara, and a student at a vocational school in Jerusalem. He had been awarded a special scholarship to the vocational school from the Israeli government. He was an Israeli Arab who was killed by a terrorist Arab.

Bodies 17, 18, and 19 are still in pieces and have yet to be identified.

  —   Harvey Tannenbaum

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JWR contributor Harvey Tannenbaum resides in Efrat and is the president of Protexsia Plus. To comment, please click here.

© 2002, Harvey Tannenbaum