Folks have asked for my remarks from last night's powerful memorial service at the Siegel JCC (and thanks to the more than 130 who attended). Below you'll find my reflections.
In addition, you can find the poem Rabbi Brian Eng recited here.
Reflections on the death of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali
"For the thing which I greatly feared has come upon me, and that which I was afraid of has come unto me." (Job 3:25)
This past Friday, as we recited the blessings welcoming Shabbat into our home, I got to do something that the parents of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali weren’t able to do: recite a blessing over my son, a blessing that every parent recites over their children at Shabbat, a blessing, proscribed in Torah, that ends “May God give you Peace.” At my synagogue we left three seats as you see here, reserved for when the boys would return home to their parents’ Shabbat table.
Eyal, Gilad and Naftali’s parents will never get to recite a blessing over their sons’ heads. They will never sit at their parents’ tables again. As Naftali's mother said in her son's eulogy, they will have to learn to sing without them. Nor will Muhammad Qaraqara’s parents, he now laid to rest mere days before we learned of our three boys’ loss. And this morning brought news of more death, another teen, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, possibly out of rage and hate. Five teenagers, four Israelis, three Jews, innocents lost forever.
Two of them were students of Adin Steinsaltz, the sage of our time, and upon hearing of their passing he cried out the words of the psalmist: “Awake! Why are you sleeping O Eternal! Rouse yourself! Do not abandon us forever.” And then told his companion, Rabbi Pinchas Allouche, “All we can do…is shout and protest…People will light memorial candles, recite prayers, and attend vigils,” he said. “Our boys were killed al Kiddush Hashem, because they were Jews…Therefore, to best honor their memories – indeed, to confront evil –we must act always as proud Jews, in our deeds and through our lives.”
Naftali Frenkel, Eyal Yifrach , and Gil-ad Shaar