Memorial flames at Mercaz HaRav
Memorial flames at Mercaz HaRav Israel news photo

Three years have passed since the murderous terrorist attack at the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva in Jerusalem, in which eight young men were brutally murdered in cold blood as they studied Torah in the Higher Yeshiva library. Naftali Moses, whose son Avraham David was among the victims, spoke to Arutz Sheva's Hebrew-language news service about the approaching yarzeit.

Naftali Moses said that after his son was murdered, he found a measure of comfort in Jewish music. The Moses family has since sponsored Jewish musical events in their community, and is planning another on the date of the murders, the first of Adar Bet, Saturday night, in their hometown of Efrat.

Music “helps us cope, as a family,” Moses said. Making it a communal event helps the family to give back to the community, which gave its support following the tragedy, he said.

“Rabbi Akiva said that the Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies,” he noted. “The evening will follow in the path of King David, the songs that will be sung will be verses from Psalms.”

He spoke about his son, who was just 16 when he was murdered by a gun-wielding terrorist. “One of his teachers said he had a smile like an angel,” he recalled.

“In the last year of his life, he was unusually dedicated to learning Torah. He would get up to pray at sunrise every morning,” Naftali continued. “One time I came to bring him a birthday present. I got there during the afternoon break and entered the dormitory to look for him. I asked one of the students where Avraham David was, and he said 'You're Avraham David's father? You're looking for him here?' I said 'yes,' and he answered that there was no way Avraham David was in the dormitory – he was in the Beit Midrash [study hall – ed.].”

Other victims of the 2008 terrorist attack were Segev Peniel Avihai, 15, Doron Meherete, 26, Roi Roth, 18, Neria Cohen, 15, Yonatan Yitzchak Eldar, 16, Yochai Lifshitz, 18, and Yehonadav Chaim Hirschfeld, 19. Several other young men were wounded, some of them severely. The rabbis who taught the martyrs are in continued contact with their families.

The terrorist who perpetrated the attack was Alaa Abu Dhein of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber. He was shot and killed by brave off-duty IDF officers Yitzchak Dadon and David Shapiro, who raced into the building to stop the attack before police who reached the scene reacted. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

One year after the attack, eight Torah scrolls were dedicated to Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva in honor of the eight victims. Around the same time, Yitzchak Dadon's new baby son was ritually circumcised by the father of one of the victims.