Sunday, May 31, 2009

Yona Baumel dies at 81

Yona Baumel dies at 81 | Israel | Jerusalem Post

Yona and Miriam Baumel were very special people. They made aliya in 1970, with three children. In fact they were the only people like that I actually knew in New York who made aliya as a family. (Let me explain, I knew lots of people here who came from New York, but I hadn't met them in my 'old' life in New York. I knew lots of people who came from New York when they were young and have lived here and had families.) These were people who I had met at my friends' house, someone's uncle and they made aliya - in the middle of their lives.

And then, they became the center of a terrible tragedy. Many Jews have suffered loss and certainly American olim have had their share of fallen soldiers. But the story of Zach Baumel is more than loss. It's the uncertainty of his fate, the gnawing sense that Tzahal did the unspeakable, the unforgivable and gave up for dead a living soldier.

We may never really know what happened to Zach and the sense that this in some way could have been handled differently has to leave us all feeling guilty. There was never closure for Yona Baumel and now Miriam faces this new loss alone. We should all be crying with her.

May the family find comfort among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

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