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A Cry of Life

Genendel Krohn

“Genendel,” she said, in a voice filled with emotion, “can you believe that this Shabbos is my baby’s bar mitzvah?”

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Photo: Shutterstock

On Erev Shabbos Parshas Balak, I called my married sister in Yerushalayim to wish her good Shabbos, and she mentioned in passing that she had a bar mitzvah seudah to attend that night. 

“Who’s making a bar mitzvah?” I asked. 

“Ora Cohen,” was her reply. 

My sisters who live in Eretz Yisrael are very close to Ora and have become like sisters to her. She emigrated from Iran a number of years ago and has no relatives in Eretz Yisrael. I got to know her through my sisters, and I decided to call her to wish her mazel tov. 

Of course, Ora was excited to receive a call from America. “Genendel,” she said, in a voice filled with emotion, “can you believe that this Shabbos is my baby’s bar mitzvah?” 

“This is your baby?” I asked, incredulously. Had so many years really passed? My eyes suddenly became moist and I wanted to tell her, “Ora, it’s not just your baby! It’s Klal Yisrael’s baby!” but my words got caught in my throat. I wished her nachas from her children and hung up the phone in a daze.

Photo: Shutterstock

Memories flooded through my mind as I recalled the day, just short of 13 years ago. Tishah B’Av was over and it was bein hazmanim. Ora decided to take her five young children on a trip to the Kosel, her favorite place in the entire world. When they were finished, they walked around the Kosel plaza, admiring the sights and observing the different types of people who had come there to daven. 

When it was time to go home, they boarded a very crowded bus and managed to find themselves seats. As the bus snaked through the holy city’s streets, it turned the corner of Rechov Shmuel Hanavi and stopped at the bus stop, but there was no room for any new passengers to get on. A chassidish-looking man, determined to board the bus, forced the doors open and found himself a spot right behind Ora. The only thing unusual about him was that there was a large bulge in his stomach. The next thing she knew, everything went black… 

It was later discovered that the man who had pushed his way through the door was actually an Arab terrorist in disguise, the suicide bomber responsible for the infamous bombing of the Number 2 bus.

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