Sunday, July 31, 2005

Memorial Service

I got a lot done at Hebrew U this morning. I confirmed that they got my payment for next year, so that they can complete my registration and put me into the courses I chose. I went to the bookstore to return some binders; I overestimated the amount of paper I actually need to file. I also got a lot of material for my history paper.

At 11:00 a.m., I attended the memorial service marking the three year anniversary of the terrorist attack. On July 31, 2002, at 1:32p.m. (right during the lunch rush), a bomb went off in the Frank Sinatra Cafeteria. The cafeteria is adjacent to the Rothberg International School, where I am currently studying. Seven people died then and there, two more succumbed to their wounds later. Over 80 people were wounded. "Went off" is an interesting way of putting it. What happened was that the terrorists put a backpack full of explosives and shrapnel in the cafeteria, then went away and detonated it by cell phone.

Taken from their families that day were: David (Diego) Ladowski, 29, Levina Shapira, 53, Marla Bennett, 24, Benjamin Blutstein, 25, Dina Carter, 37, Janis Ruth Coulter, 36, David Gritz, 24. On Aug 10, 2002, Daphna Spruch, 61, died of her wounds. On Aug 13, 2002, Revital Barashi, 30, died of her wounds. You can read more about them here. Ben and Marla were both students at the Pardes Institute, where I am also currently studying. I never met either of them, but they both wrote passionately about living in Israel, and you can read their words here.

The memorial service was short, about 18 minutes. I think it was meant to be 15 minutes, but the fact that it ended up being 18 is symbolic in a strange sort of way. When the number 18 is written using Hebrew letters you get the word "chai", which means "alive". And despite the terrorists' intentions, the university and its ideals live on. The service began with a moment of silence, then a brief speech by the President of the University, Menachem Magidor. Itzik Barashi, the brother of Revital Barashi, said Kaddish, the Jewish mourner's prayer, which is an interesting prayer because first, it makes no mention of the dead, and second, it is in Aramaic rather than Hebrew. Then a wreath was laid at the base of the memorial, and the ceremony ended with the singing of Ha-Tikva, the Israeli national anthem, the title of which is The Hope.

I took these pictures of the memorial a few hours after the service had concluded. It is a living sculpture by Israeli artist Ran Morin, called The Tilted Tree. Two cords are hold the tree back, trying to keep it from growing, but the tree, despite this, insists on growing upwards.


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