Every time a soldier dies in this country, the news will announce the time and location of his funeral, and thousands of people will attend, most of whom do not even know the family or the one who was killed. It is part of the "One Big Family" syndrome in Israel, and it is the anonymous person's chance to try to help, just by being there.
Last night I paid a shiva call to the Moses family in Efrat, whose 16 year old son Avraham Dovid was murdered last Thursday night in his school, along with seven other innocent boys. Not that one expects a shiva to be fun or entertaining, but there was a wierd energy in the room. Naftali Moses (the father of the boy) balanced his attention between those who had come to keep him company and offer comfort, and his children. His 11 year old son sat next to him, and I believe that he will suffer the most when he fully registers the impact of the death of his brother, who was closest to him in age. As Leah Moses, the stepmother of Avraham Dovid said, "they were each other's rocks."
Another daughter, desperate for her father's attention, started pulling her shirt up and crawling onto Naftali's lap; some woman had the gaul to try to pull the child away, thinking it was the "right thing" to do. The youngest daughter, a social talkative four year old, was very busy planning a sleep over, and canvassed the room to see if she had chosen the appropriate pajamas.
For the most part, the room was quiet, and then an older Israeli woman started chatting away, saying that she did not know the Moses family at all, but that she had an uncle who died recently at the age of 92, and was buried nearby on Kibbutz Lavi. She further explained that she was at this shiva house to show her support for those who live in the Gush and suffer from terrorist attacks.
Later that evening, I saw this same woman gazing adoringly at the photo of Avraham Dovid Moses, and stroking the image, as if it were her own child.
Who is to say what is and is not apporpriate at times like these? I give this woman the benefit of the doubt, and bless her for the kindness she showed this family.
I was at the pool the Friday right after the terror attack, and standing practically naked in the locker room, a Russian woman (also in a towel and not much else) just started shouting. In anger, in grief, to anyone who would listen and respond. She expressed her sadness at the death of these eight boys, her rage at the governement that cannot seem to protect its citizens, and continues to push through the idea of peace and cooperation with those who would murder us, citizen by citizen. This particular Russian woman felt that the best and only solution was for the Israeli government to give out free guns to any Israeli citizen - as opposed to the Israeli Arab citizen who walked into the yeshiva and shot more than 600 rounds of bullets - so that we may protect ourselves in the future.
Who is to say what is and is not appropriate at times like these? But thank G-d for the solider who killed the terrorist, before he could do even more harm.