Nechama Rubin, wife of Meron tragedy victim: He just wanted everyone to be happy

"I kept calling his phone, fearing the worst - I was going out of my mind."

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Hundreds of mourners accompanied Rabbi Rubin on his last journey
Hundreds of mourners accompanied Rabbi Rubin on his last journey
Hezki Baruch

Rabbi Yehuda Leib Rubin, aged 27, was one of the 45 people who lost his life in the catastrophe that occurred in Meron last week, in the early hours of Friday morning. He left behind him his wife, Nechama, and their three young children.

In an interview on Kan Reshet Bet, Nechama described her husband, how she learned of the tragedy, and the immediate impact on her family.

“I can clearly recall the first time we met,” she related. “He had such a radiant face; he was a person of such depth and sensitivity, and he was also so wise and intelligent – yet he was always such a happy person too, so full of vitality.

“We always prepared for Shabbat together,” she continued. “The cooking, washing the dishes, all the preparations… Last week, we agreed that he would travel to Meron and I would prepare for Shabbat.”

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Describing the horrific moments when the disaster unfolded, Nechama said, “When I first heard that something terrible was happening, I felt incapable of following the news stories as they came out. I started phoning my husband, and although there was cell phone reception, he wasn’t picking up the phone. In my heart I already sensed something awful, and I kept phoning and phoning, begging him to pick up and let me know that he was okay. I felt like I was going out of my mind.”

Nechama only knew for sure that her husband was among the fatalities later that Friday morning. “My mother arrived at my house and told me, ‘G-d has given, and G-d has taken away.’ Then we both broke down.”

Nechama’s oldest son is just four years old, but able to recite Kaddish, the mourner’s prayer. “My son doesn’t really understand what’s going on,” Nechama related. “He asked me why Daddy is in a tallit [wrapped in a prayer shawl in preparation for burial -ed.]. But my older daughter does understand, and she cries even as she tells me that we’ll help each other and that somehow we’ll manage.

“Yehuda was devoted to his family,” she added. “He was so warm, so loving, and all he ever wanted was for everyone to be happy, for the children to be happy – and he was always telling me, ‘Love life, and life will smile on you.’ I have no doubt that he was taken because he had attained perfection. His task in this world was complete. But for us, the loss is immense, because we need more people like him, and we don’t have them.”

Hundreds of people accompanied Yehuda Leib Rubin on his last earthly journey, and the crowd was rent with weeping as his four-year-old son recited Kaddish for his father.

Yehuda Leib Rubin was the son of the well-known writer Rabbi Yom Tov Rubin, the editor of the Hamevaser newspaper. He leaves behind him his grieving widow and three young children.