Tamar Fogel, 12-year-old survivor of the Fogel family massacre, last week visited Jonathan Pollard during the traditional seven day mourning period (shiva) mandated by halakha (Jewish law) for the loss of a parent, sibling or offspring. During shiva, mourners sit on low stools or the floor, wear rent garments and are consoled by visitors who also say special words of comfort as they leave.
Pollard is mourning the loss of his father while in jail after American authorities refused humanitarian pleas that he be allowed to attend the funeral.
Pollard, serving a life term for an offense that usually carries a punishment of 2-4 years in prison, is the son of the late Prof. Morris Pollard, who died at the age of 95. The Obama administration also turned down pleas that Pollard be allowed to visit his father before he died. The kaddish prayer, said at each prayer service for 11 months after the death of a parent, requires a quorum of ten Jewish men (a minyan) and therefore Rabbi Yona Metzger, Chief Ashkenazi rabbi of Israel, has taken it upon himself to recite the prayer for Pollard.
However, prison authorities allowed Tamar Fogel to visit him in his cell. She and two younger brothers escaped the gory fate that met her parents, two other brothers and a baby sister after two Palestinian Authority teenage terrorists savagely knifed them to death in their home in Samaria earlier this year.
After the shocking attack, Pollard sent condolences to Tamar and her brothers by sending them teddy bears.
Tamar’s grandfather, Rabbi Yehuda Ben Yishai, accompanied her to the North Carolina prison where Pollard is languishing while his health is deteriorating.
Rabbi Ben Yishai said that Pollard, despite the loss of his father, asked about the surviving Fogel children.
Tamar’s visit was rare because prison authorizes generally have not allowed visitors under the age of 18.