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Sad Celebration as Comatose Bombing Survivor Turns 16

Odelia Nechama was critically wounded in a terrorist attack at 14. Friends, family celebrate her birthday at her bedside.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 8/10/2012, 12:00 PM

Binyanei Hauma bombing
Binyanei Hauma bombing
Flash 90

The friends and family of Odelia Nechama Assoulin are holding a sad celebration Friday as they mark Odelia’s sixteenth birthday. Odelia has been comatose for one and a half years, ever since a terrorist attack at a Jerusalem bus stop left her with critical injuries.

“We keep praying and hoping,” her mother Michal told Arutz Sheva. “We are grateful to the many people praying for her.”

“Prayers are very important with everything she’s going through,” she added. “There are difficult things to overcome and we see that the power of prayer is really the only thing that can help her.”

She noted the devotion shown by her daughter’s friends. “Her friends from Ulpanat Tehila [high school] who are going into eleventh grade did an amazing job organizing and setting up booths near Rachel’s Tomb and at the Western Wall and handing out fliers calling to pray for her in honor of her birthday,” she related.

Friends continue to visit Odelia frequently, write her letters, speak to her and sing to her, Michal said.

Odelia Nechama, whose two names mean “thanks to God” and “comfort,” respectively, was given her names due to the date of her birth, in the weeks of comfort after the day of mourning on Tisha B’Av, she explained. Her full Hebrew name for prayers is Odelia Nechama bat Michal.

The prayers for Odelia give the family strength, she said. “Odelia is still unconscious but we believe that with so many people there is great power, the prayers of a community are something with a lot of power.”

“We also learn from the fact that Odelia’s situation is not our private situation,” she added. “While she is our daughter, who we raised and cared for, she is an emissary for the entire people of Israel. Her body absorbed a terrible blow.”

“Odelia was the emissary for the people of Israel, and now we must be her emissaries,” she said.