Benjamin Horgan and Yossi Dagan
Benjamin Horgan and Yossi DaganRoy Hadi

This weekend hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the dedication of a Torah scroll in memory of Esther Horgan in the town of Tal Menashe in northern Samaria.

Esther Horgan, 52, was murdered while jogging near her home in Tal Menashe in December 2020. She is survived by her husband and six children - two daughters and four sons. The youngest of them, 13 years old, celebrated a bar mitzvah a few months ago.

Esther's family members, rabbis, public figures, residents, and guests attended the event. The participants went singing and dancing through the streets of Tal Menashe until they reached the synagogue.

At the end of the event, a celebratory meal was held with the participation of the local rabbi, Rabbi Reuven Uziel; Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Zini, head of the Or Vishua Hesder Yeshiva in Haifa; and Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan, who connected the Horgan family with the businessman who donated the Torah scroll.

Benjamin Horgan, the husband of the late Esther, said excitedly: "We were privileged to put a Torah scroll in the new synagogue in Tal Menashe in memory of our beloved Esther in a situation that combines the joy of a mitzvah with the sharp pain of her loss. The Torah which lit up Esther's path is a source of strength to us as individuals, as a family, and as a people, and through it we will perpetuate Esther's legacy and memory: 'For she will not be forgotten by her descendants.'"

Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, spoke of the chilling experience of coming full circle with the Torah scroll: "I had de ja vu of walking this same path 10 months ago, only then it was to tell the Horgan family the worst possible news of all."

''Now we tread the same path, only this time with a Torah scroll in joy and dancing. And I think if there has been a moment in recent years that I have felt what Israel's eternity means, it is this moment. Such a people with such a Torah, and dear Benjamin who dances with a Torah scroll in memory of his wife from home to the synagogue, we feel the soul. It is because of this that the people of Israel will be victorious, and we will be victorious, with God's help," Dagan said.

The event was also attended by Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Rahamim Zaini, Rosh Yeshivat Or Vishua in Haifa, who said: "You have established a settlement here with devotion, you maintain it with supreme devotion, it is a great thing."

Eli Lipshitz, Chairman of the Yishuv Secretariat, said at the ceremony: "We are in awe of Benjamin Horgan, how he took all the intensities of pain and sadness, through the goodness and righteousness that radiated Esther, Benjamin works day and night in promoting the Land of Israel by establishing Park Esther in the forest adjacent to Yishuv and spreading Torah learning as we see here."

''Benjamin, in his deeds, serves to draw us after him. We are honored to host here the chairman of the council, Mr. Yossi Dagan. Yossi works tirelessly for Samaria in general and Tal Menashe in particular. Yossi is here at all times, through joy and sadness, with great sensitivity and determination. For this he deserves many thanks."