A leaning tree serves as a reminder and memorial of the 2002 bombing at Hebrew U.
By Esther Abramowitz
I have been dreading this day for weeks and weeks. And here it is. And it is OK. I guess that is what happens sometimes.
Today is July 31, the five-year anniversary of the bombing here at Hebrew U. The Hebrew date is the 22nd of Av, next Monday. Around 1:30 p.m, five-years-ago, a bomb, concealed in a nondescript-looking bag, was detonated in the crowded Frank Sinatra cafeteria claiming the lives of seven people and injuring dozens more. (View Hillel report from the day.)
Memories and images are rushing in and out of my day and night dreams, these past few weeks. The horrors of that day, of bearing witness to pain, death, strength, human dignity, Malachim, angels from God, dressed in human clothes, devastating sadness, fear and overwhelming kindness are always with me. The incredible bracha, blessing, of being here in this place is also always with me. A memorial service was held today and I made sure to be at Frank Sinatra for lunch at 1:30. The schnitzel is still the best in town!
Yesterday was Tu B'Av, the Jewish version of a day of love, and this past Shabbat was Shabbat Nachamu (the Shabbat after Tisha B’av, a Shabbat of comfort to Jerusalem). I am struck again by the coming together of comfort and love. Ahava and nechama, love and comfort, those two words propel me forward and remind me of the challenge of giving and receiving with dignity and with care. They remind me of hakarat hatov, recognizing the good and genuinely appreciating and acknowledging the other.
I am once again reminded of the ripples upon ripples upon ripples of people that are touched by death and pain, of Yehuda Amichai's poem, “The Diameter of Bomb.” I am also reminded of the power of community, the meaning of simple kindness, the unbelievable power of friendship and family both those near and far, the often surprising comfort of marking time, and the many, many blessings in my life.
I pray for comfort for those in mourning this week and light for those in pain.
Esther Abramowitz is Hillel's director of student life in Israel. She lives in Jerusalem.