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Remembering Ella Abukasis

אלה אבוקסיס הי"ד

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected])

Shalom Sivan, my name is Shlomit Beracha, the sister of Ella Abukasis, may her memory be a blessing, from Sderot. 17-year-old Ella was walking down the street with her 10-year-old brother Tamir. When they were 100 meters from home, a siren sounded and a Kassam rocket that was fired from the Gaza Strip exploded beside them. Ella jumped on Tamir and saved his life at the price of her own. Today is the 19th anniversary of her passing.

This year, since we cannot hold a large memorial service for her in Sderot, I am requesting that the following thoughts be shared in her memory:

We are all one family. Ella’s story was shared throughout the world. Yet she merely discovered and revealed what exists at the root of all our souls. The self-sacrifice that Ella demonstrated towards her brother is the same as that being demonstrated by so many today. We have been reminded that all of us are brothers and sisters in the same family.

We must confront danger the moment we see it. The story of Ella serves to remind us not to ignore warning signs. Years before the kidnapping of baby Kfir Bibas, whose first birthday was just marked while he was being held captive, we already understood that our enemies were child murderers but did not deal with them as such. I hope that this time around we uproot the tragic error that led to the death of my sister and so many other innocent victims in recent days.

We must stand by our principles. Ella was special in her life, not only in her death. Until 9th grade, she studied in a standard state school for gifted children. On Shabbat, she would go with me to to pray. Once on Shabbat she told me that she needed a prayer book in order to pray during the morning in her classroom. I asked her: “Are you sure? Those around you are not religious and maybe they will mock you? They will torment you because of this.” But Ella answered that she didn’t care what people would say. She knew what had to be done and she would do it.

Let’s all pray for redemption. Throughout this war, we have seen how we are all part of the magnificent story of the nation of Israel as it is expressed in the weekly Torah portion, and no more so than presently. Last week we read about the final three plagues that God brought upon Egypt, and this week we will go out from slavery to freedom to be redeemed. Let us pray that today we too will merit to go out from darkness into great light and witness complete redemption with our own eyes.


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