Naftali Sheetrit, 14, of Sderot, who was critically wounded in the terrorist slaughter in Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav Kook ten days ago, awoke on Friday.  He had been in a medically induced coma for a week following the shooting, and was listed first in critical, then in serious, condition. Now, however, doctors say his condition has stabilized and he is out of danger.

Friends said the boy is still in serious condition and suffering from intense pain, but is alert and recognizes and responds to visitors.  His first comment when he awoke was a request to give thanks to the doctors who had treated him. 

Some 100 people celebrated Naftali's recovery at the Shaarei Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem on Saturday night.  Among the visitors was a group of 12 men from the New York-New Jersey area - members of their local Hatzolah emergency medical service chapters - who made a special three-day trip to Sderot from the United States to show their support. 

Naftali himself did not attend the festivities, but some friends and relatives visited him in his room and transmitted the visitors' good wishes.  He lost much blood from his wounds - he received 17 pints afterwards - having been shot in the leg, arm and liver. 

Naftali's parents were among the pioneers who began the Torah core group in Sderot nearly ten years ago.  Many families soon followed, and the Yeshiva Hesder of Sderot, one of Israel's largest hesder yeshivot, was one of the core groups' direct outgrowths. 

"Thank G-d, we received him as a gift," said Yaakov Sheetrit about his son's recovery.  Naftali has already undergone a series of complicated operations, and still faces an extended period of recuperation.