Father of slain Israeli teen visits JEC
STUDENTS AT THE Jewish Educational Center’s Rav Teitz Mesivta Academy heard firsthand of the painful tragedy experienced by the Yifrach family, whose son Eyal was kidnapped June 12 and murdered along with two other Israeli teens, Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaar.
Uri Yifrach, Eyal’s father, visited the school Nov. 20 as part of his U.S. tour to share his message of faith and unity among the Jewish people and to raise funds for an Aron Kodesh to be built in Israel and dedicated to his son’s memory.
Speaking in English, Yifrach described the pain of not knowing the fate of his son and the other boys during the days before their bodies were found on June 30 near Hebron. He said that despite the tragedy, what happened to his son and the other teens “lifted the nation” to a sense of unity and love.
By reading an excerpt in Hebrew from his son’s personal diary, which was translated by RTMA principal Rabbi Peretz Hochbaum, Yifrach said, he was introducing the students to Eyal, whose writings delved into questions of existence and peoplehood. “Don’t ask lama, why, but rather l’mah, for what purpose,” read one passage.
Yifrach said he believes that the discovery of the extensive Hamas-built tunnel networks during Operation Protective Edge, launched by Israel July 8, gave greater purpose to the boys’ deaths. He said many lives were perhaps saved as a result of the Israeli army’s destruction of the tunnels.
Regarding his faith in the wake of the tragic events, Yifrach said, “Our eyes are human eyes. We cannot understand God’s master plan…. All we see is a small part, but it is part of a much larger picture.”
Several of the students approached Yifrach at the end of his address to embrace him and give donations toward the ark project.
JEC is a partner agency of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.