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Ezra Schwartz

The bike, number 220, has saved many other lives and has responded to most of the recent terror attacks in Jerusalem.

On Saturday night hundreds of people gathered at Ben Gurion Airport to see Ezra’s body off to the U.S.


Rabbi Seth Farber, a friend of the Schwartz family who heads the Jerusalem-based organization Itim, which helps individuals work with the Israeli Rabbinate on a host of issues, told the crowd: “We were brought up on the Zionist dream. There is no young man or woman who is unscarred by what happened in the last 52 hours, but we cannot give up on the dream. The unspeakable anguish of Ezra’s family and friends must strengthen our resolve here.”

Friends from Ezra’s yeshiva were given a few minutes alone with the casket before it was loaded onboard. Accompanying Ezra were his aunt, uncle, and several friends.

“This kind of terrible thing, when it happens to one of us, it happens to all of us,” said Carol Brenner, formerly of Ezra’s Sharon, Mass., hometown. “And living in Israel, we feel even more keenly that we are all one family. It reminds us how important Israel survival is for Jewish survival.”

It’s a message not to be lost on the younger generation, added another Sharon native, Yitzhak Sokoloff, a longtime Efrat resident and owner of Keshet Educational Tours, who also traveled to the U.S. with Ezra’s casket.

“I’m mostly here for the kids I know from our Israel program and from Sharon,” he said. “They take it the hardest. But I’ve been telling them that today is for mourning and tomorrow is for building.”

A representative of U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro spoke of the “profound sadness” of American citizens and government leaders including President Obama. (Obama and Secretary of State Kerry spoke with Ezra’s parents on Monday; according a senior administration official Obama “condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack that took [Ezra’s] life and underscored that Ezra’s studies in Israel strengthened the bonds between Israel and the United States and as we mourn his death those bonds only grow stronger.”)

Then a tearful Rabbi Gotch Yudin, head of Yeshivat Ashreinu, took the floor.

Ezra, he noted, had been “on his way to do chesed [kindness]. Ezra came here to learn and do chesed. So our answer to his death is that Klal Yisrael has to come here and learn and do chesed. We know we have to redouble our efforts in order to live up to his memory.”

“I have no regrets,” wrote Ezra’s father in a letter read by his brother. “Ezra had a great life.”

Sunday’s funeral at Temple Israel in Sharon was standing room only, with all seats having been filled an hour before the service began.

Among those who mourned the teen were his parents, Ari and Ruth Schwartz; his siblings, Mollie, Hillel, Elon and Avi; and all four of his grandparents.

–JNS, INN, Jewish Press

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