At the very end of Wednesday's azkara memorial service beside the graves in Jerusalem of best friends Malki Roth הי"ד and Michal Raziel הי"ד, a young man, Itamar Hevroni, asked to be allowed to speak. Itamar and the girls grew up in the same neighborhood. All were members of the same age-group that worked its way up from elementary school to the end of high school through the ranks of the EZRA youth movement which is especially active in Jerusalem. Here, translated by us from the Hebrew original [posted by Itamar on his Facebook page], is what he said.When I was growing up, I lived near Malki and the Roth family. Neighbors have a special kind of relationship. You pass each other, you say “good morning” or “good evening” and so on. And generally that’s it.
Living alongside the Roth family, I had the privilege of seeing another aspect – how they cared for their daughter Haya at home.
Many images enter my mind – Arnold carrying Haya up the stairs; Frimet taking Haya in the stroller and making adjustments to help her sit more comfortably. And Malki z"l taking Haya out together with her two other younger sisters Pesi and Rivki.
|Malki, her parents, and five of her six siblings (obscured) |
at a family celebration a few weeks before she was murdered
Then seventeen years ago, the disaster.
Let me explain that.
Our daughter, Shaked, is now three and a half. She was born with a rare muscular disease that affects her motor abilities. As part of her treatment, just two weeks ago, I found myself at the lending center of the Yad Sarah Organization in Jerusalem. I came there in order to borrow a child's walker that would make it easier for Shaked to her develop her walking skills.
|Itamar posted this picture of his daughter|
on his Facebook page
It’s hard to describe the shiver that went down my spine at that moment. That and the intensity of feeling that engulfed me. I remembered that in another two weeks I would be standing by your graves – Michal and Malki – as I have done every year for the past seventeen years on this date, the 20th day of Av.
I knew right away I would tell this story there.
Now I’m here and I’ve told the story: a story about a meeting.
Thank you, Frimet and Arnold, for perpetuating Malki’s memory here and everywhere. For continuing Malki’s work in this world.