Memorial at Mercaz Harav
Memorial at Mercaz HaravIsrael news photo: Flash 90

A memorial service is being held Thursday evening at Jerusalem's flagship Zionist yeshiva, Mercaz Harav, for the eight young students who were cruelly massacred by a machine-gun wielding terrorist five years ago as they sat peacefully studying in the yeshiva library.

The eight martyred victims are Doron Mehereta, 26, of Ashdod; Ro'i Aharon Rote, 18, of Elkanah in Samaria (Shomron); Yonadav Haim Hirschfeld, 19, of Kokhav HaShachar (Shomron); Yochai Lipshitz, 18, of the Old City of Jerusalem; Yonatan Yitzchak Eldar, 16, of Shilo (Shomron); Neriah Cohen, 15, of Jerusalem; Segev Pniel Avichayil, 15, of Neveh Daniel in Gush Etzion and Avraham David Moses, 16, of Efrat, Gush Etzion.

The Dean of Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, told the gathering that in these days, as the Shechina (G-d's Presence, ed.) is pained by the fact that Torah observance within the nation is lacking, and that the eight martyrs, each of whom was an entire world,  gave their lives for Torah study.

In an oblique reference to the current political debate regarding the enlistment of hareidi yeshiva students, he added, "sometimes not everyone knows the value of the Torah. Those who study the Torah do not have a quota, they also bear a burden."

"The time that passes does not blunt the pain," the Dean of the adjoining Yeshiva High School whose students were among the victims, Rabbi Yerachmiel Weiss, said at the memorial. "The pain of the loss, and the yearning and the smiling faces of the murdered ones, whose purity of heart we learn about gradually, is always with us."

Dr. Naftali Moses, father of Avraham David Hy"d, said that his son studied Torah 16 hours a day. "My son was murdered only because he was a Jew, living in a Jewish state, with a Torah book in his hands."

Photos are from the funerals and the aftermath of the massacre.