The bullets, the knives, the cars used as weapons, all have names on them, and it is difficult to internalize. But along with the tragic losses in these families is the portrayal of remarkable and inspiring strength.
We will never know where it comes from, and we pray no one will ever have to experience something like this again. The names of the most recent sacrifices are Yaakov and Asher Paley of Ramot in Jerusalem. The other victim of this terror attack was 20-year-old newlywed Alter Shlomo Laderman.
This week the sad spotlight fell on Devorah Paley, a mother of eight with her ninth child on the way. Along with the loss in this family there also emerged the fashion which the Jewish community around the world coalesces and becomes one. We’ve done a lot of that over the years, but that seems to be our fate as a people for some Divine and inexplicable reason.
Last week our friend Dr. Jonathan Paley called us. Dr. Paley is an orthodontist with a practice in Woodmere. He and his family reside in Israel since making aliyah back in 2004. Jon travels to New York just about every second week to oversee his busy longtime dental practice.
As it turns out, it seems that all the Paleys are related, some closer while others are more distant. The key here, though, is that an event like this shortens those distances and everyone comes together.
To the best of Jon Paley’s information, two Paley brothers born and raised in Belarus left sometime in the mid to late 1800s in search of a new world where there were no pogroms and probably less poverty.
One immigrated to Israel, the other to the United States. The rest, as they say, is history—now unfortunately punctuated by tragedy.
The young boys’ father, Avraham Noach Paley, is still hospitalized with serious injuries including two broken legs, a fractured skull, and broken ribs. He is in stable condition and is expected to recover, be’H, but it will be a long road ahead with months of physical therapy. And then, like the rest of the family, he will have to emotionally adjust to the shocking loss of his two young boys. According to Dr. Paley the father was not told yet about what happened to the boys; he knows they were hurt but that is the extent of it. Rabbi Paley is a rebbe in a nearby yeshiva.
The family concluded the shivah observance last Friday. They were visited by many hundreds of people who came to try to comfort them in their loss. The family sat for the most part in front of their Ramot home in a tent erected by United Hatzalah so as to minimize traffic through their home.
At the end of last week, the Paley family was visited by Miriam Peretz, known in Israel as “The Queen of Hearts” for the manner in which she dealt with the loss of two of her sons who were serving in the IDF.
Uriel Peretz was killed in an ambush in Lebanon in 1998. His brother, Eliraz, was killed in a battle with terrorists in the Gaza Strip in 2010. Miriam Peretz’s words addressed to the family were riveting and inspiring to anyone who heard what she had to say (there is a recording of the meeting on YouTube).
She shared with the Paleys her experience as a mother who lost two boys who were both married and had their own children, as well as her husband, Eliezer, who died, she says, of a broken heart after the loss of her two sons.
Mrs. Peretz shared her belief that while she cannot see her boys who died in service of their country, she feels they are very much with her.
Along with the new and difficult reality comes the inevitable financial burden from every conceivable direction. Dr. Jon Paley’s brother, Dr. Jeff Paley, recorded a message that is available online for The Chesed Fund, a group that raises money in situations like this, with 100% of the funds raised going to the family in need.
In his message Dr. Jeff said that funds are needed for extensive and necessary medical expenses, loss of income, travel to and from the hospital for family members, and babysitting for the small children. As of last Monday the fund has accrued over $220,000, with the current goal to reach $400,000.
Jon Paley adds in our conversation that the family has been inundated with offers from various companies to set up fundraising campaigns but they felt the overheard costs being asked for were too great. They prefer that none of the money raised goes to overhead and that even though they are hard-pressed for the money they will need they were reluctant to turn to the public.
So long as a tragic event like this is celebrated in places like Jenin, Ramallah, and Gaza there is, unfortunately, no hope for peace. Israel will increase building in certain areas of the country as a result of this terror attack or will seal and destroy the home of the terrorist’s family, which might be an effective strategic move that may reduce the inclination of others to emulate such awful acts.
But the Paleys see this tragedy on a completely different plane. This is a family dominated by faith and uncompromising belief in Hashem. For something like this to happen to such a family and others like them is way beyond our capacity to understand.
A loss like this can only be understood by a G-d who sees past, present, and future as one. Too much of the world cannot see occurrences like this in that context. Israel is dealing today with an implacable enemy that does not have peace or even coexistence in their vernacular.
Earlier this week at a meeting in Israel with the Conference of Presidents, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the Palestinians do not want peace with Israel but rather want peace “without Israel.”
The Paleys are just the latest victims of this violent and deadly hate that is supported by or ignored by the majority of the world. How can the murder of two little boys standing at a bus stop on a Friday afternoon elicit silence from international leaders at the UN and in the U.S.? But this is what they do and this is how they do it.
We can only hope and pray that these losses and the anguish are a prelude to the redemption of the Jewish people. May it be very soon.
Read more of Larry Gordon’s articles at 5TJT.com. Follow 5 Towns Jewish Times on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates and live videos. Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome at 5TJT.com and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.