I don’t know how to start this post. Do I write about a young girl, a camel, or a terrorist attack? Do I write as a parent?
It’s a sad story that began … no, maybe it’s better to say it ended…on March 5th, 2003. On that day, a young girl went with her friend to plan the end-of-year celebrations for her school. An Arab terrorist boarded the same bus and blew it up. Tal and her friend Liz were among the 17 people killed; another 53 people were wounded.
I looked at her birthday – she was born three months and ten days before my oldest daughter. It’s part of every terror attack – what is stolen is not just a life, not just a moment – but so much more. All the future that would have been – a husband, perhaps, and children. Grandchildren for her parents, nieces and nephews who will never know her. It’s enough to break you, if you let it.
So there you have the young girl and the terror attack – and now the camels. What comes to mind for many who lose a loved one, especially a child, is how to help their memory live on. Each wants their way to be unique and also related to something of their child.
After their 15-year-old daughter Malki was murdered in the Sbarro terror attack, Arnold and Frimet Roth created the Keren Malki Fund. An Israel-based, non-political voluntary not-for-profit organization providing support and help without any regard for the religious or national background of the family. Keren Malki is focused on empowerment, allowing families from every segment of Israeli society to provide quality home-care for their special-needs child the way they believe it ought to be provided.
After their 13-year-old son was murdered less than a kilometer from him home by Palestinian terrorists, Rabbi Seth and Sherri Mandell created the Koby Mandell Foundation to offer a Jewish response to the impact of terror and tragedy— helping bereaved mothers, fathers,widows, orphans and siblings re-build their lives, and create meaning out of suffering.
There are too many instances of parents doing similar things but each one touches. On March 5th, 2003, Tal Kehrmann was killed. We know little of her life – it was filled with smiles and laughter and friends, but it was so short. Her father tells us she loved animals, especially camels and so he has a request for us as the 10 year anniversary of her murder comes close.
It’s a whimsical, almost silly request but it is important to Tal’s family and will bring them comfort. It will tell them in a world of too many victims, we still remember Tal. They’re asking us to color a camel for Tal. In her diary, they found a picture of a camel, but it had not been colored in – so they have asked people from all over the world to download the picture, color it in, scan it and send it back. There are already close to 2,500 camels posted to the site – they want to reach 10,000 by the 10th anniversary in just under 3 months.
We can’t always donate money to every worthy cause or donate the time to help – but can you spare a few minutes to color a camel? If you can, please go to: http://www.tal-smile.com/DrawTalCamelE.htm.
Download Tal’s drawing and color it – use as many colors as you can – let her memory bring light to all who remember her and may her family continue to find comfort in the wonderous memory of this special girl. They do not have her future, but if we take her with us into our future, we help them keep her memory alive. Please, color a camel for Tal.
Just two days before Tal died, she wrote a poem – it is, in many ways, a message to all of us, if we will but listen to her.
About the Author: Visit Paula Stern's blog, A Soldier's Mother.
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