Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Surviving Terror: Shlomi and Michal’s Story
One Shabbat evening in 2002, in the Beit Israel neighborhood—an ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem neighborhood located near the seam line between east and west Jerusalem—a suspicious man in ultra-Orthodox clothing was noted by passers-by.
Shortly after 7 PM at the end of the evening prayer that ends Shabbat, the streets were crowded with people. On the way out of a yeshiva in the neighborhood, many people gathered, including a family who had come to spend the Sabbath in Jerusalem to celebrate their sons' bar mitzvah.
The suspicious man was a suicide bomber—and he detonated himself near a group of women standing with baby carriages, waiting for their husbands to come out of prayer.
In total, ten people were killed, including six children.
One of the wounded in the attack was the son of Shlomi* and Michal*, Aryeh*—who, against all odds, was resuscitated at the scene. Shlomi and Michal themselves were also seriously injured and were taken to the hospital for treatment.At that time Michal was pregnant with their daughter Esther.
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades later claimed responsibility for the attack—one that marked the beginning of a wave of terrorism known as "The Black March" during the second intifada.
We met the family at the Bar Mitzvah celebration we do with the organization for terror victims every year. At this special event, we learned about their moving story and became acquainted with the needs of the family.
We began to support the family financially and provided them with 6 months of supplies for their twin babies—including baby formula, diapers, clothes, and toiletries. VFI also donated appliances and other household items.
Since the terror attack, and despite their severe post-traumatic stress, the family has tried to return to a routine. Embracing the family has been a win-win situation. We always see them smiling and always expressing huge gratitude for the support.
We receive so much joy by being able to bless this family that came out of the ashes and is doing all they can to overcome the tragedy they faced years ago. The family always invites us to their special events. This past year they were so happy to invite us to the weddings of two of their eight children—including their 19-year-old son Aryeh who survived the attack.
Although we came to help them, we left encouraged and strengthened after having known them and seeing their powerful example of redemption and healing.
*Names have been changed