An event will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday at Rachel’s Tomb (Kever Rachel) on the outskirts of Bethlehem.
The event will be held by the Rachel's Children Reclamation Foundation and will include a memorial to terror victim Sara Blaustein.
Sara Blaustein, 53, of Efrat, was killed in a drive-by shooting on the Jerusalem-Gush Etzion road on May 29, 2001.
A new immigrant from New York, Sara was traveling by car to Jerusalem with six others, when Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists opened fire on the car. Blaustein's husband, Norman, and Samuel Berg, one of Sara's three children by her first marriage, were both wounded in the attack. Another passenger, Esther Alvan, 20, was also killed.
One of Sara's favorite projects was her weekly trip, which took place every Tuesday, to Rachel's Tomb. She used to say, “We must never allow the Arabs to gain control because we are afraid to travel there.”
Norm and Sara were also very active supporters of the Jerusalem Reclamation Project, the organization which works to buy back property in the Old City of Jerusalem. Sara had, in the past, served as the executive director of the project.
The Jewish matriarch, Rachel, is not buried in Hevron with the other matriarchs and patriarchs. She died in childbirth and her husband, Yaakov (Jacob), buried her on the road toward the city of Efrat, adjacent to Bethlehem.
The prophet Jeremiah (chap. 31) mentions Rachel crying for her children who have left her, alluding to the destruction of the Temple and the resulting exile. The Jews prayed at the site on their way to exile in Babylon, and have continued to do so ever since, asking the Jewish matriarch, Rachel Imenu, to listen to their prayers.
From 1948 to 1967 Jews could not pray there, but they are making up for it and the site is full at almost every hour of the day. Tens of thousands of people come to visit Kever Rachel every year on the 11th day of the month of Cheshvan, which is Rachel’s yarhzeit (anniversary of death).
The government recently decided not to include the site among those heritage sites that will undergo “renovation and empowerment” this year. The Rachel's Tomb Heritage Fund has warned that the lack of funding causes Kever Rachel to not be sufficiently protected from a security point of view.
The fund has called on the Israeli government to restore security to Rachel’s Tomb by declaring it a heritage site and providing it with funding as such.