Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin visited the grieving family of Rabbi Shai Ohayon, z”l in Petah Tikvah during the traditional seven-day shiva mourning period on Tuesday, following Ohayon’s murder at the hands of a terrorist last Wednesday in broad daylight.
“Rabbi Shai Ohayon (39), of Petah Tikvah sustained multiple stab wounds to his upper body when getting off a bus near the Segula Junction in Petah Tikva,” Israeli government officials said in a statement last week. “Paramedics arriving at the scene found the victim unconscious and without a pulse. Paramedics transferred him in critical condition to the trauma ward at nearby Belinson Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.
“Ohayon, a full-time student at a religious institution (kollel) in the nearby town of Kfar Saba, was a respected and prominent figure in his neighborhood and teacher of Torah lessons. He is survived by his wife and four children aged four-13.”
Rivlin met Ohayon’s widow Sivan and their young children, his mother Shlomit and his brothers and sisters. The family told the president about the rabbi and how he always offered a helping hand to those around him. His mother Shlomit spoke about how her neighbors congratulated her about him becoming a Rabbi, and when she asked him why he had not told her he modestly said, “it’s just a piece of paper.”
“My son took care of everyone, with modesty and great intention. He always took care of me so that I would not want for anything. If only we could be the last bereaved family,” she said.
The president heard the family’s stories about Ohayon’s love for humanity and how much he loved to learn and teach Torah.
“I came to share your deep grief and to express our pain, the pain of the whole people for a man who did so much for our society,” Rivlin said. “We have lived in our land for thousands of years, we held onto it and will not let go, even when our enemies try again and again to harm us.”
The president asked Ohayon’s children how they were, and they told him they had gone to their schools and kindergartens for the first day of school. As he left, Rivlin expressed his hope that the family would know no more grief, and wished them happy times in the near future.