Jews worldwide are taking action to help celebrate the wedding of Sarah-Tehiya Litman, whose father and brother were murdered in a drive-by shooting near Hevron almost two weeks ago.
Litman is to be married on Thursday night to her fiance Ariel Beigel after having to postpone their original wedding date due to the terrorist attack, and many are planning to show up to help celebrate after the young bereaved couple invited the general public, with yet others donating to help.
But that effort to help celebrate was given some of its most moving illustration by five Chabad On Campus centers in the US and Canada, which decided to crowd-fund donations from students and then hold a raffle to send at least one representative from each school to the wedding.
The extra funds from are to go to the young couple as a wedding gift, and the centers involved include: Chabad Student Center At Einstein; Center for Jewish Life of Rockland; Chabad On Campus - Queens; Rohr Chabad Student Network of Ottawa; Chabad at Binghamton.
Aside from taking part in the joy of the wedding, the representatives will also visit some of those wounded in the recent wave of Arab terror attacks. They likewise will visit the mourning family of 18-year-old soldier Ziv Mizrahi, who was stabbed to death at a gas station northwest of Jerusalem on Monday.
"Over $2,000 in under 25 hours"
Over $7,000 were raised, including more than $2,000 by one chapter alone.
"It is truly amazing how quickly so many people contributed, over $2,000 dollars was raised is less than 25 hours, almost all of it from students," said Rabbi Chaim Boyarsky, co-director of Chabad Student Network of Ottawa.
"The feeling of being with Israel is unreal, students are living it! The sentiment of 'Am Echad' (one nation - ed.) is strong!"
One of the students being sent from Queens College is Sara Just-Michael, who recalled her surprise phone call from the co-director of Chabad On Campus - Queens.
"Tzipah (the co-director) called me while I was sitting in class. I stepped out to take her call. She said: 'Hi Sara would you be able to take the trip to Israel tonight?' Of course I was! That's not the kind of question that you think twice about. Three hours later we were off to the airport!"
Just-Michael noted that "this trip is about the fact that several people chipped in a little bit each to pay for a ticket to send a representative and to send love and support."
"They worked together to send the message that Jews all over the world stand together. That we are not scared. We will not hide even when others are trying to kill our people. All who donated to fund the ticket are on this trip with me via the impact of their small donation."
Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum, co-director of Chabad Student Center At Einstein, spoke about how Sarah-Tehiya Litman's resolve when facing her tragedy really struck a chord among the students.
"The message that the bride sent, of not letting our enemies dictate when we dance and celebrate, really resonated here on campus. We felt that this was a great way to express our pride as Jews and support for our brothers and sisters in Israel - not through sadness but by expressing the true joy and resilience that we as a nation are blessed with, and which can never be taken away."
Speaking about his long trip to take part in the celebrations, Gavriel Apfel, a student at Einstein Medical School, said, "the opportunity to take part in a national act of unity and resilience in the face of terror is one that I am honored to have."
Rabbi Levi Slonim, Chabad at Binghamton's director of programs, said, "in 1956 in response to a terrorist attack on the Chabad Village in Israel that left five students and their teacher dead, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory, wrote: 'we can never understand such an event. But how we must respond is clear: now, we must grow and thrive. Through continued building we will find solace.'"
"The Rebbe sent 10 yeshiva students to Israel as his personal representatives to revive and uplift the spirits of the Israelis," recalled Rabbi Slonim.
"Inspired by this message and display of true unity and support, when we heard of the terrible tragedy that happened to the Litman family and their subsequent invitation to all of Israel to join in their wedding; we accepted."