Friday marks the second anniversary, on the Hebrew calendar, of the accidental shooting death of Rabbi Dan Mertzbach by an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint between his home in the southern Hevron Hills Jewish community of Otniel and the Me'arat Hamachpelah Cave of the Patriarchs. To mark the occasion, his family has posted a 50-minute film on the Internet, based on interviews with people from his life and clips from when he was alive. The film is called "Architect of Souls" (Adrichal Shel Neshamot in Hebrew). Since the rabbi's passing, his family has put out three books in his memory, including one of songs to be sung at the table.
Memorial events began on Thursday with a day of learning at the Hibat Haaretz (Love of the Land) yeshiva Rabbi Mertzbach established. Simulating the conditions at the time of the shooting, a pre-dawn convoy of vehicles drove from Otniel to Hevron for Friday-morning prayers at the Cave of the Patriarchs, ahead of a graveside memorial on the Mount of Olives. The public is invited to Otniel for a Melave Malkah meal in the rabbi's joyful tradition.
To view the movie (in Hebrew), click here.