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Worshippers Return to Har Nof Synagogue

MKs join residents and wounded victims praying in Jerusalem synagogue one day after the lethal terror attack.

Cynthia Blank ,

MK Dov Lipman at Bnei
MK Dov Lipman at Bnei
Dov Lipman Spokesperson

About 30 worshippers arrived Wednesday morning to Bnei Torah synagogue in Jerusalem's Har Nof for shacharit morning prayers - the day after two Arab terrorists horrifically massacred worshippers, killing five people in the synagogue. 

Two security guards stood at the entrance to secure the morning prayer service, after the 7 a.m. prayers the previous day was interrupted by an attack with hatchets, knives and guns.

Among the worshippers were residents, people wounded in or present at the scene of the attack, as well as Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) and MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid)

One of the worshippers, Yitzhak Heshig, a doctor at Shaare Zedek Medical Center who was injured in Tuesday's attack, made it a point to return to the synagogue for the next morning's prayers. 

Yosef Moalemi also came to the synagogue Wednesday morning. His father had been injured in the attack, and is still hospitalized at Hadassah Ein Kerem in Jerusalem. "I was missing his tefilin [phylacteries] and his prayer shawl, so I came here to look for them," he told Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot. 

"We came here this morning on our way to the hospital. His situation is improving thanks to prayers. Every morning we pray hard, but especially today, prayer will be from the depths of the heart." 

Har Nof resident Akiva Pollack, who was working as a Magen David Adom paramedic at the the time of the attack and was one of the first to the terror scene, also returned Wednesday morning to the synagogue. 

"This morning I went into the synagogue. On the street before entering, I gave a good look around for fear someone would do it again," he admitted.

"This is my first time coming here after the event and it's hard. I know two of the people killed. When I went in this morning, I realized that one of the terrorists saw me through the glass of the door."

However, Pollack stressed the importance of returning to normal. "When I see the synagogue full, I know they are the people who believe the synagogue will not close but will be strengthened. What we need to do is come back here and pray."

MK Lipman issued a statement about his experience praying in the synagogue: "It was important for me to pray at the very minyan (prayer quorum), at the very time that the attack happened yesterday to demonstrate support for the regular minyan attendees and to send the message that 'am yisrael chai' (the people of Israel live) and that the terrorists accomplished nothing by their horrific murders."

"I was inspired by the intensity of this morning's prayers and was touched deeply by the cries and tears of those who publicly gave thanks to God for surviving yesterday's attack."

Har Nof's Director of Community Uriel Elbaz said after the services that "we will be dealing with this difficult trauma for a long time." 

"I can not tell if a father would take his son to the same place, but people are coming back," Elbaz told Army Radio, "People are praying. The goal is to return to the normal routine as quickly as possible."