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A letter from Limor to Avigail

לימור זוסמן

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected])

“Shalom Sivan,

My name is Limor Zusman. 23 years ago, when I was 6, my parents were on the third floor of the Versailles Wedding Hall in Jerusalem when it collapsed and they fell to their death along with 21 others. I woke up the next morning all alone in the world.

When I hear about Avigail Idan, the girl who lost both parents and was just released from captivity, I am familiar with the darkness that envelopes her.

I remember people sitting Shiva and crying. I walked outside and no one noticed. I went into the yard, pointed at three stars in the sky, and announced: ‘Mother, father, and God are watching over me together.’

At that same moment, I gathered otherworldly strength to cling to life. Over the years, I learned this verse from the Book of Psalms: ‘For my mother and father have forsaken me, but the Lord gathers me in.’

I learned about the strength of widows and widowers, and of orphans. They have special protection.

I don’t want to promise empty promises: What happened never goes away. I am the same 6-year-old girl waiting for her parents to return from the wedding. I am still the 12-year-old girl at her Bat Mitzvah ceremony when all my friends stood with their mothers and fathers.

To everyone who cares about the children who have lost their parents, I say: Be with them in their pain. Give to them, hug them, and ask nothing from them. Be sensitive and cautious. Give them time. And most important of all: Do not pity them! Leave your pity outside. Enlighten them about the strength within them. Don’t focus on their scars but on their resilience. Don’t make them dependent on the kindness of others for the rest of their lives. Focus on their courage instead.

Today I am married, a mother, and studying to work as a family guidance counselor (perhaps because I lost my family). It’s possible to choose life.

All night long, I could not sleep and wrote this for myself, for the grieving families, for everyone, and especially for one little girl. May you be blessed, Avigail, in your return to us.”


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