Victims of the 2008 attack
Victims of the 2008 attackIsrael news photo: (file)

The shooting attack at the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem in early 2008, in which eight young men were murdered, shocked and saddened Israelis and Jews around the world. Less than two years later, a project has been completed which intends to respond to the attacks by “dispelling darkness with light.”

The project is the work of tens of thousands of people – specifically, a group of more than 30,000 that gathered following the attack on the social networking site Facebook. The group decided to base its response in the philosophy of Rabbi Avraham Yitchak Hakohen Kook, the founder of the Mercaz Harav school.

The Facebook group, led by founder Dan Illouz, chose a book as its memorial project. The book “United: Dispelling Darkness with Light” is now being distributed in select locations around North America and Israel, and is available elsewhere on request. It can also be downloaded from the Internet.

United includes writings on the topic of unity from prominent rabbis, including rabbis from Mercaz HaRav who taught the slain boys. The book intends to both commemorate the victims of the attack and to bring light into the world in their names.

No official institution or movement was behind the creation of the book – a fact that its creators say speaks to the special nature of the memorial project. Hundreds of former strangers came together to create the book and raise the necessary funds, they explained this week on their website. “Many, working as one, to memorialize the few.”

The site also includes a quote from Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook that served as inspiration during the course of the project:

The purely righteous do not complain about evil, rather they add justice.They do not complain about heresy, rather they add faith. They do not complain about ignorance, rather they add wisdom. (Arpilei Tohar p. 39).