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Make Them Pay

Shlomi Gil and Rachel Ginsberg

Dr. Alan Bauer’s life was changed forever after a suicide bomber blew himself up nearby, sending screws through his arm and shrapnel through his seven-year-old son’s brain. That Pesach of 2002 was spent in the ICU; but while the wounds never totally heal, this year the Bauers and nine other families will sit down to the Seder knowing justice has prevailed.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

For Dr. Alan (Avraham) Bauer, the Seder night of 2002 was the nightmare-come-true of every Israeli living under the relentless bombardment of terror at that time. A tense silence hovered over the intensive care unit of Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital as the doctors and nurses moved quietly between the patients, trying to nurture a measure of hope. It was Pesach in the children’s ICU. The sharp pain in his own left arm vied for his attention, but as Dr. Bauer looked at his seven-year-old son lying prone on the oversized bed, head swathed in bandages, he couldn’t fathom how he would celebrate the historical miracle of Am Yisrael on this night. The hospital, someone had once told him, was not a place for children. A hospital, Alan Bauer thought dejectedly, was also no place for a Seder. The loneliness was acute, but here is where he was, and Hashem obviously didn’t want him to just wallow in despair. He stood up, took his Hagaddah, and began to read. “Kadeish, Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz…”  Bauer’s son gazed at him from the bed, his eyes seeming to urge his father on as he chanted the familiar words that he’d read for so many years in their homey Jerusalem dining room. When Bauer reached Vehi She’amdah, he could hardly control his tears. “In every generation they stand up to destroy us,” he sang. “And HaKadosh Baruch Hu saves us from their hands,” he continued as his child’s silent eyes followed him, as though searching the prayer. “It was there, from that deep place of pain, that I felt the hope. When I read the words ‘sheb’chol dor vador,’ I knew I wasn’t alone. I was part of a long legacy of persecution against the Jewish People. My parents escaped from Germany as children after Kristallnacht, and although they weren’t religious, when my father sangVehiShe’amdah, his voice would crack. Now I knew I’d become another link in the chain, and vowed that no one would take away the gifts Hashem had given me.”

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