No tears left: An open letter to my students
No tears left: An open letter to my students

Translated into English, by: Isaac Kohn

It is morning.

The classroom.


Again I must enter this room to stand in front of them, searching for the right words to describe the circumstances, to deal with the uneasiness, the stress, the feelings of anxiety, the fear, the feeling of déjà vu.

Once again I see the dread in their their eyes, which reflect the suppression of justice.

How many times in one year can I discuss with the students the death of another one of us?

What else can be added to what already has been said?

Nobody has the strength to talk anymore.

Not the teachers

Not the students

We are out of strength.

The students’ faces reflect their attempts at self-introspection

The expressions of silent contemplation that have spread across their faces

Yet I know that within two, three weeks

This ‘mask’ will melt and the post-trauma will break out

Only very recently the wound healed, partly, from the last event

As the school year ended, we put it behind us

And suddenly the old wounds are torn open once again

The most recent wounds are bleeding once more. As are those of the previous episode, and those of the one before that.

Avrahan Hasno, Hashem Yikom Damo (may G-d avenge his blood, ed.), who devotedly cleaned our school

Dafna Meir, Hashem Yikom Dama, mother to girls attending our school.

Rivkah Peretz, z”l, a teacher, killed in an accident two months ago

And now Miki Mark, a father, a grandfather to children in our school -  murdered.

How long will the enemy be allowed to raise his head?

How long will our Holy of Holies be in the hands of the enemy?

I need to search for the strength

To search for a ray of hope

When the school year ended, we sighed in relief.

Thank G-D the year and its curses has ended (a High Holydays prayer, ed.).

But the vacation has hardly started and the peace has been shattered

Perhaps, then, only on the 29th of Elul

As the sun sets, only then will we be able to say that the year with its calamities has ended

For, only then, as the sun sets, we can be sure

That the year has passed.

The tears rolling down my cheeks are not shed

For one righteous man who was brutally taken away.

A prayer, a deep question thumps in my brain, questioning our very existence.

“Ve’Ata Be’ra’chameich Harabim Tachpots Ve’ Tirzeh Banu”

With Your tremendous compassion, You Hashem will desire us to be Your people…

Are we acceptable? Are our deeds satisfactory?

In these trying times, what does  HaKodosh Boruch Hu expect of us?

We’ve added and increased our deeds of chesed and goodness,

We’ve improved our Torah learning, prayers, charity,

Crying, supplicating and over-all behavior.

What more can we do to turn Heavenly Judgment into Compassion?

We stand here forlorn



Not in silence of acceptance

But a hush borne by helplessness

A stillness bereft of anything else to say.

I’m writing this to unload what presses on my heart

But, additionally, to ask, to beseech

We, community leaders, ask.

Throughout this year I told my students,

We did not come to Har Hevron because it’s cheaper here

Not because of the friendly neighbors

We didn’t come here for the taste of the good life

We’ve come here in order to fulfill the word of Hashem..

To settle the land

Not to leave it in the hands of strangers.

We’ve come here as representatives of the Jewish Nation

To put into effect, to realize that command

Which in actuality we could have accomplished by settling elsewhere..

In Jerusalem, in the Golan

Even in Tel Aviv.

We chose to settle here,

Here, the land of Judea, in order to better fulfill all of G-D’s commandments

To do it in the best possible way

But I tell you, friends throughout the land,

We need to feel, to know

That the rest of you, that Am Yisrael is behind us

And I ask that the prayers of your students,

As they pray for all of Israel..

I ask, that those sincere prayers, indicate in particular

That they are praying for our unique, Holy community in Har Hevron

In general

And in Otniel in particular.

I ask that, together with you, we strengthen our supplications and prayers to Hashem,

And….I ask that anyone who harnesses his students and community to the task of praying

For the holy community and students of Otniel..

Please let me know.

Let us be strong and strengthen each other for the sake of our people

And for the sake of G-D’s cities, land and nation.

Signed in profound pain and with rivers of tears.

Chaim Schreiber.

[email protected]