In March 2008 a terrorist infiltrated the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem and murdered eight young students. On Thursday night, the anniversary of the deadly attack was marked by a night of Jewish music, in an event that has become an annual tradition.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat addressed the crowd at the event, and spoke of the mixed sadness and hope.
“The terrorist succeeded in murdering eight flowers. It remains an open wound; for those of us in Jerusalem the images of the attack have not yet faded,” he said. However, he added, “Terrorism did not reach its other goals. The Merkaz HaRav yeshiva has expanded, Jerusalem is sovereign and stronger than ever, and the state of Israel is a voice of sanity in our region.”
“We have not given in to terror, even as we lick our wounds,” he continued. “Merkaz HaRav is a symbol in Jerusalem of values and of sacrifice, a model for the people of Israel.”
Yeshiva head Rabbi Ya'akov Shapira recalled the night of the attack, and the aftermath, in which he had to inform Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu of the murders. “He turned as white as the plaster on the wall when I told him about the terror attack,” Rabbi Shapira said. “Later, his wife told me that he had fallen ill, beginning then.”
Rabbi Shapira noted that Thursday’s event was not merely an evening of music, but rather, “an evening of communion with the souls [of the slain], which continue to fulfill their mission in higher worlds.”