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Memorial for the Fogels

Thousands came to a memorial for the Fogel family on Thursday. 'We cannot give comfort; we can only be together.'
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 3/18/2011, 10:20 AM / Last Update: 3/18/2011, 10:29 AM

Flash 90

Thousands of people came to the Yeshurun synagogue in Jerusalem on Thursday for a memorial ceremony for the five members of the Fogel family who were murdered last week in their home in Itamar.

Among those who came were politicians and Israel's leading rabbis. Rabbi and Member of Knesset Yisrael Eichler, a known figure in the hareidi-religious world, said, “We cannot give comfort. We can only be together. As we say, 'May G-d comfort you,' only G-d can comfort the mourners.”

Rabbi Eichler described the vicious murders as “a family Holocaust,” and linked the events to the upcoming Purim holiday, on which Jews will read the Megillah, the Book of Esther. “The Book of Esther is about the divine being hidden. We are in a very difficult period in which it is hidden.

“We believe that at the end of the day we will read the story from the beginning to the end and we will understand. Because now, it is impossible to understand.”

Also present was Rabbi Adin Even-Yisrael Steinsaltz, renowned for his creation of the Steinsaltz edition of the Talmud. Rabbi Steinsaltz explained that he was there due to a personal connection; one of the Fogels' relatives is a teacher in one of his schools. “I came because of that connection... Just to let people know that one more person is offering them support,” he said.

When asked if he had anything to say, Rabbi Steinsaltz said, “The main thing I have to say is that there is nothing to say. I cannot speak, I cannot say anything. I cannot be G-d's lawyer. He did not appoint me, and I do not think I would have accepted a position like that.

“There is pain. What I tell people is, it is alright to cry. And sometimes it is alright to be angry.”

Community leaders spoke at the memorial. One said of the Fogels, “They would tell the whole community, the whole nation... Don't let them make you despair. Don't let them take your strength.”