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David Wilder was born in New Jersey in the USA in 1954, and graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a BA in History and teacher certification in 1976. He spent 1974-75 in Jerusalem at the Hebrew University and returned to Israel upon graduation.
For over eighteen years David Wilder has worked with the Jewish Community of Hebron. He is the English spokesman for the community, granting newspaper, television and radio interviews internationally. He initiated the Hebron internet project, including email lists of over 15,000 subscribers who receive regular news and commentaries from Hebron in English and Hebrew. David is responsible and continues to update the Hebron web sites, portraying various facets of Hebron, utilizing text, audio, video and pictures. He conducts tours of Hebron's Jewish Community and occasionally travels abroad, speaking at Hebron functions.
David Wilder is married to Ora, a 'Sabra,' for 35 years. They lived in Kiryat Arba for 17 years and have resided at Beit Hadassah in Hebron for the past 15 years. They have seven children and many grandchildren.
Links to sites David recommends:
(others to be added)
The wedding of Dr. Aharon and Ruth Abraham at Ma'arat HaMachpela - The Doctor Who Broke the Statues
The Doctor Who Shattered the Statues
Translated from article appearing in Hebrew in Sichat HaShavuah for Parshat Chaye Sarah http://www.chabad.org.il/Magazines/Article.asp?ArticleID=6356&CategoryID=1341
A year ago, Dr. Aharon Abraham was Director at the ICU Medical Center in prestigious British Kennedy in Mumbai, India. The horrible terror attack at the Chabad house caused him to leave India and go to Israel."This house was the center of my life," he says with pain. "There we spent Shabbat and holidays. The terrorists took part of me, they took my soul. Following the incident, finally I decided to leave India and go to Israel. I have no more business there."
He currently resides in Kiryat Arba examining job opportunities suitable to his expertise and experience. Concurrently he completes the conversion process which he and his wife and children began in India, thereby closing a chapter of his life story, very not routinely.
Confrontation with the father
His previous name was Vagirds Frads. The story is very reminiscent of the story Abraham. His father was a senior Hindu cleric. "He had all kinds of statues, he attributed to them special powers," he says. "I did not understand how Dad honored a man-made statue. I didn't understand why Mother bother preparing food for statues, and sometimes I eat it in secret".
When grown up and graduated from high school, he began to confront openly his father. "I told Dad: How can you believe this nonsense?! Father heard and said nothing, had no answers. One day I took a hammer and simply smashed the statues. He shouted at me: the gods are angry! I answered him: If they're angry, let them do something, reconstruct themselves "...
Identification with Abraham
The young man left his village and enrolled to study medicine at the University of Mumbai, where he made contact with Christian students. They saw he was looking for faith, and gave him a Bible. "A new world opened before me," he recalls excitedly. "I eagerly read the Psalms and became acquainted with the figures of Moses and Abraham's story and with Am Israel."
He successfully graduated and became a doctor specializing in one of the medical centers in Mumbai where he met his wife, who worked as a nurse. She followed his interest in the Bible. After they married they decided to change their family name to 'Abraham', following the admiration they felt for Abraham. He also decided to change his first name to Aaron. "Aaron the priest was a wonderful person, full of glory," he explains with a smile.
That terrible night
They gradually made the decision to convert and become full-fledged Jews. The were tempted to undergo a Reform conversion, thinking they were already Jews. Then they met Chabad emissaries Rabbi Gabi and Rebecca Holtzberg HY"D in Mumbai. They approached him about their sick child (who later died later from disease). Following this bond, Dr. Abraham realized that a Reform conversion was worthless. He began studying Judaism with the Rabbi, while his wife studied with the Rabbi's wife.
'Our whole life centered around the Chabad House, "he said in a trembling voice." It's the only place where we could get kosher food. Gabi and Rivki were our guides, we did not move without them. They gave us Judaism and we gave them medical care for their sick child. We began a process of true conversion and found the extraordinary beauty of the Torah commandments. Then came that terrible night, and took away my Master ...". He sobs a few moments and says: "But what we learned from Gabi and Rivki will accompany us and our children forever."
Tonight, having completed their conversion, Aharon and Ruth Abraham married at Ma'arat HaMachpela in Hebron, on the first anniversary of the murder of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg HY"D.