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In Every Generation

Hadas Afik

Last Pesach, they were just regular kids. Last Pesach, they were just regular kids. But what will this year’s Seder be like in their private bondage as orphans, after the recent wave of terror robbed them of the most precious people in their lives and forced them to navigate the grief of bereavement and their place in a fractured family? Sarah, Moriah, Tiferet, Tzofia, Maor, Akiva, and Tzipi share the anguish of their new reality and their hope for redemption.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Moriah Litman, 12 years old, lives in Kiryat Arba. Her father, Yaakov Litman Hy”d, and her brother Netanel Hy”d were both murdered on the way to the aufruf of her sister’s chassan. They had left their home just a few minutes earlier for the yishuv of Meitar in the southern Chevron hills. Eighteen-year-old Netanel was driving, his father Yaakov seated beside him. Sixteen-year-old Dvir was in the window seat next to the two. In the back seats sat the three younger daughters — Moriah, Tehila, and Aviah — and their mother, Noa. The kallah, Sarah Techiya, remained home with friends. Four months later, seventh-grader Moriah still flashes back to every detail of the attack. “I was sitting in the car behind my father. When we first set out on the trip, my father told us to put on our seat belts, and that if someone started throwing stones at us, we should lower our heads. But he said emphatically, ‘B’ezrat Hashem, nothing will happen.’ “Netanel was driving, and my father wanted to make sure he was okay. ‘Netanel, is your seat comfortable?’ he asked. ‘Is everything all right for you?’ That’s my last memory of my father — his incredible caring. And then, I saw the terrorist and everything that happened.” When the car slowed down at a curve, a terrorist opened fire. Yaakov was struck first and mortally wounded. Netanel was shot dead while calling for help. Noa and her three daughters were lightly wounded by shrapnel and the resulting crash. Dvir, 16, was shot in the leg. Rabbi Litman was a beloved elementary school teacher in Kiryat Arba as well as at the Merkaz Harav yeshivah high school. “The last Friday of his life, the day of the terror attack, was Rosh Chodesh Kislev, and he danced with his students and gave each of them a special treat. My sister Sarah Techiya once asked my father why he didn’t have the school reimburse him for the prizes and treats he was always buying. He told her, ‘When I buy presents and treats for you, do I ask someone for reimbursement?’ He loved his students as if they were his own children. Our house was one of his homes, and the school was his other home. He was a rebbi for the first and second grades, and when I walked with him in the street, I would hear little children calling out, ‘Here’s Rebbi Yaakov who we love!’ ”

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