Updated 'Ella Center' Opened in Sderot
The city of Sderot received a new children's science center on Thursday. The center was officially inaugurated by Minister of Science and Technology Daniel Hershkowitz.
Hershkowitz, of the Jewish Home – Mafdal party, helped to create the center in coordination with the family of Ella Abukassis, a local teenager killed in 2005 in a terrorist rocket strike.
The center is part of “Mishkan Ella,” which was built in her memory. In the upcoming days it will already serve as the site of a summer camp in which local children will learn science.
Mishkan Ella has served until now as a center of social activism in Sderot, and will continue to do so. It was built to focus on the three main things most important to Ella during her life: Torah, chessed (acts of kindness), and Bnei Akiva.
Rabbi Rafi Peretz spoke at the ceremony and praised Ella's parents and siblings. “The Abukassis family is embued with great spiritual strength, and gives strength to the entire national of Israel,” he said.
Ella (Ayala-Chaya) Abukassis was killed in a rocket attack in January 2005 at the age of 17. She was returning from Bnei Akiva activities with a younger brother when the rocket alert sounded, giving them warning a projectile would strike in seconds.
The two did not have time to take cover. Instead, Ella threw her body over her younger brother, shielding him from the blast. She was struck by shrapnel and critically wounded, and died three days later. She was survived by parents Yonatan and Sima, brothers Ran and Tamir, and a sister, Keren.