Over the last few weeks, our close friend (whom I wrote about here) who lives in Israel was staying at our home while on vacation. While she was on a short road trip with a friend during her vacation, and we were taking Kayla for surgery to have a second round of tubes put in her ears, there was a bus bombing in Jerusalem. After the surgery I tried calling her to let her know about the attack, and she asked if I had spoken to her mother - apparently her mother had tried calling her a few times. The fear in her voice was palpable, and while thank God nobody from her family was near the attack, it brought back the memories of my own years in Israel and all the times since when there have been terror attacks and the frantic calls back and forth to let everyone know everyone was okay (or c'v not).
During my time in Israel in 2001-2003, I would often go to this friend's first cousin, also a great family friend who we had grown up with in Cleveland. She had kindly offered to let me come and often bring friends to watch NFL (particularly Browns) games late Sunday nights in her apartment, along with having me for meals if I was in the area. I was near her Katamon apartment, on the way back from her cousin's family in Efrat, when bombers blew up Ben Yehuda street killing about 25 and injuring over a hundred, including a cousin's brother-in-law, narrowly missing friends of mine from school. I recall hearing a large boom, then... mostly silence, from where I was. I recall wondering why no buses came, no traffic at all in fact, for about 45 minutes - only to hear the news when cousins started calling me to see if I had been nearby.
While in Katamon on occasion, I also became friends with her roommate at the time, Sarri Singer, who was very active in numerous ways. She was dedicated to helping victims of terror and working (if I'm recalling correctly) for Gift of Life, which is a massive bone marrow registry, actually setting up a swabbing at Ohr Yerushalayim where I was in school one day where the whole yeshiva took part. Her roommate's father, who was my own father's best friend for fifty years, had died of leukemia, which made her work that much more meaningful. Sarri had come to Israel dedicated to helping victims of terror after a missed alarm clock led to her not being in her office just two buildings away from Ground Zero on 9/11. I recall thinking that what she did was really just impressive - she was truly dedicated to working hard on the various projects and causes she was involved with.
The week I left the country after my second year in Israel, I was horrified to learn that she herself had been on a bus which was blown up by a terrorist, killing a little girl seated next to her along with 15 others, wounding over 100, and leaving her hospitalized for two weeks.
Today, I see that her hard work and dedication is paying numerous dividends. Sarri has co-founded and grown an amazing organization called OneHeartGlobal, dedicated to helping victims of terror from all over the world. This past Friday she and an Irish member who has lost eight family members in attacks were interviewed by Gayle King, and you can listen to the full interview there.
You can donate to OneHeartGlobal here.