They would have been in their twenties or thirties today, most or all married and raising young families. But that was not to be.
As they were studying the Torah they loved, heads bent over the holy tomes in the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva library so as not to waste time before the party planned for the start of the month of Adar, a terrorist who had worked at the yeshiva and posed as a delivery man, cut them down with a machine gun.
The holy books drenched in blood were a tragic reminder of another time in Jewish history, when other barbarians, Crusader mobs, mowed down Torah scholars studying in the Beit Midrash.
Part-time yeshiva student Yitzchak Dadon prevented further casualties when he courageously climbed through an upper window and shot at the terrorist. A yeshiva graduate, IDF Officer David Shapira, on his way home on leave, pulled out his gun as he ran across the street and killed the terrorist.
On Thursday evening at 5 p.m. a memorial will be held at Merkaz Harav Yeshiva, Religious Zionism's flagship yeshiva located in Jerusalem, commemorating the young scholars martyred nine years ago in the heinous 2008 terrorist attack.
Yeshiva Dean Rabbi Yaakov Shapira and well known rabbis will memorialize the students and provide words of comfort and faith to the bereaved parents and siblings as well as former classmates who come from near and far to join the yeshiva's students at the event. Yeshiva high school principal, Rabbi David Simkhon, interviewed on Reshet Moreshet radio station on Wednesday, said that three of the victims' brothers currently attend the school.
The victims, two from the post high-school yeshiva and others from its high school, were:
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
May G-d avenge their blood.
Arutz Sheva went to Merkaz Harav today and spoke to Netanel Furman who witnessed the horrific minutes. For the Hebrew video of his testimony, click here.