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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


July 11, 2014  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T


Bay area joins in mourning slain Israeli teens
By BOB FRYER Jewish Press

At the hitchhiking spot in the West Bank where teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaar were abducted, Israelis light memorial candles. At the hitchhiking spot in the West Bank where teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaar were abducted, Israelis light memorial candles. A day after a joint funeral service in Israel for three teenage boys who were kidnapped and slain, about 100 people gathered July 2 at Temple B’nai Israel in Clearwater to mourn the Israeli teens’ passing.

For 18 days, as authorities searched for the boys, kidnapped as they hitchhiked through a West Bank settlement, Jews around the world were united in prayer for their safe return.

But hope turned to grief when the boys, Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, were found dead in a field near Hebron. Israel blamed the slayings on Hamas.

When word of the Israeli boys’ deaths spread on June 30, Mark Segel, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco counties, suggested to the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis that a memorial service be held. “Everybody was immediately on board,” he said.

About 100 members of the Jewish community turned out for a memorial service on July 2 for three teens kidnapped and slain in Israel. About 100 members of the Jewish community turned out for a memorial service on July 2 for three teens kidnapped and slain in Israel. The service included the participation of seven area members of the clergy.

“Why did this story capture our attention? Why do we acknowledge this hurt with a memorial service?” Rabbi Daniel Treiser of Temple B’nai Israel asked as he welcomed those gathered.

Rabbi Treiser’s answer: “Because all of the people of Israel are responsible for one another. As three families buried children yesterday, we felt their sadness in our hearts.”

He said the slain boys represented all of Israel, all Jews. “Our boys were killed for the sake of God because they were Jews, and so we must live as proud Jews,” he told the crowd. “We can not erase the evil, but we can create good. As we acknowledge the bad and the passing of these three young men, we pray once again the light will shine in Zion.”

As for the subsequent death of a Palestinian teen allegedly burned to death by Jewish extremists, Rabbi Treiser and Cantor Colman Reaboi of Congregation B’nai Emmunah in Tarpon Springs quoted relatives of the slain Israeli boys, who condemned the slaying and said “Murder is murder. Blood is blood, regardless of nationality.”

“We can not condone vigilante justice,” Rabbi Treiser said, adding that the Palestinian teen “was no more guilty of a crime” than the three Israeli boys.

“They were boys stolen from their families, from their people – killed in acts of witless anger and hatred, said Rabbi Leah Herz of Menorah Manor. “Let them find peace in the cradle of heaven.”

Rabbi Gary Klein of Temple Ahavat Shalom in Palm Harbor quoted from comments Israeli President Shimon Peres spoke to the parents at the boys’ funeral: “You raised children a nation can be proud of.”

He said Peres vowed that Israel “will uproot terrorism.”

Cantor Reaboi spoke of a revenge for the killings as not one of grenades and rocket launches, but “a sweet revenge” where children can play together in peace and “there is no longer space in the universe for anything but courage.”

The service also included performances by Cantor Jonathan Schultz of Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg, Cantor Deborah Jacobson of Temple Ahavat Shalom and Cantorial Soloist Danielle Rodnizki of Temple B’nai Israel. Because of summer vacations, other clergy members were not available.

Segel agreed with comments by Rabbi Treiser that Jews everywhere are a community and they have strong bonds to Israel, so that when there is sorrow there, it is felt here and in other Jewish communities around the world.

He said there are all too many victims of evil acts in Israel, and that in a way, the memorial service was not just to mourn the slaying of the three boys, but of all Israeli victims, and to drive home the point that peace needs to be found. He also condemned the slaying of the Palestinian teen and expressed hope that somehow, peace can be found for the region.

While no memorial service was held in Tampa, the Tampa Jewish Community Center & Federation issued a statement of condolence: “Words seem so inadequate yet words are all we have to convey the depth of our hopes and prayers that their families and the worldwide Jewish community will someday find peace and consolation in the midst of this heartache.”

The Tampa JCC & Federation called on community members to join with the Jewish Federations of North America in signing a letter to the parents of the slain boys expressing love and sympathy. To do so, go to and click on the “Remember Our Boys” item.

I do not know if Israel is in

I do not know if Israel is in a solid mood of sadness for the loss or not. Recently it has showed the brutality that is rare in history.

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