In November 2018, Israel awarded its highest civilian medal for bravery to Ari Fuld, HY’D. Ari, 45, father of four from Efrat, was mortally stabbed on September 16, 2018, by an Arab teen at the Gush Etzion junction shopping center. After being attacked, Ari used his last energies to chase his assailant and shoot at him, to keep him from harming anyone else.
The “HY’D” attached to Ari’s name is an abbreviation for Hashem Yikom Damo – God will avenge his blood. We assign the task of revenge to the Almighty because we, humans, are simply incapable of perceiving, much less avenging such monstrosities of cruelty and callousness: a mindless boy groomed to hate and execute a father and a husband whose life was marked with so much love, dedication and courage. No matter how much we try, we can’t exact the price of Ari Fuld’s murder from this lowly creature, from his family that instilled murder in his heart, or his society that’s mired in the obscenity of death-worship.
What we at Boomerang—Fighting for Israel, alongside Ari’s family and the Ari Fuld Project are doing instead, in our tradition that goes back to our grandfather Abraham, is remember Ari’s shining life and celebrate his acts of graciousness, his novel teachings, his unique philosophy, and his boundless vigor. Those were his gifts to us, and our mission after his death is to examine and embrace them.
More than two decades before Ari was killed, his close friend, Yehoshua Friedberg, an Israeli soldier, was kidnapped and killed by Palestinian terrorists on Purim 1993. As his friends testified, Yehoshua was “the embodiment of true Zionism.” He left his comfortable life in the US to contribute to the Jewish state. He inspired his friend Ari Fuld, who discovered his body. Ari vowed to commemorate his close friend through a unique project: a hospitality truck to serve IDF soldiers as they travel from one mission to the next.
But Ari himself was cut down, too, and so his family, friends and numerous strangers who have been inspired by the legacy of both men, are now laboring to finally complete this mitzvah, bringing comfort to Israel’s men and women in uniform wherever they are.
“In many different ways, over the past 28 years, Ari helped interpret the world for me,” wrote Ari’s close friend Stephen Leavitt, editor-in-chief of the JewishPress.com, on Israel’s 2019 Memorial Day. “Ari put things in perspective, put them in their right place. He integrated our experiences into the Torah’s worldview. He was both my teacher and my co-conspirator in defending Israel and the Jewish people.”
“I was constantly in awe of his outgoing manner, his confidence and his skills, be it in teaching about Judaism and Israel, caring for individuals, verbally defending Israel against its haters, or in fearlessly physically leading the charge in our counter-terrorist unit. […] Ari had a unique soul. Our Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Aharon Bina, said that it would take dozens of people just to begin to accomplish what Ari accomplished by himself in one short lifetime,” Leavitt wrote.
Boomerang – Fighting for Israel has joined Ari’s widow Miriam, Stephen and The Ari Fuld Project and our generous donors are making one of the beloved warrior’s dreams come alive.