Nov 5, 2008 — Before he was killed in the terror shooting at Yeshivat Merkaz Harav in Jerusalem in March this year, 16-year-old Avraham David Moriah was known for his extraordinary commitment to Torah study and worship. He prayed with such devotion that another Torah scholar would travel to the yeshiva to pray alongside him. Rabbi Yerachmiel Weiss, head of the Yeshiva High School of Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav, shared this memory with over 300 Yeshiva University undergraduates at an event sponsored by the Israel Club.
The audience crammed into a Furst Hall lecture room to hear Rabbi Weiss and Rivkah Moriah, Avraham David’s mother, speak about their experience of the shooting that shook the global community.
After the attack, Rabbi Weiss identified the bodies of six of his students among the eight killed in the massacre. He was acclaimed worldwide for his response to the tragedy, particularly his balance of grief and faith in a well-known television interview with hard-hitting Israeli reporter Ilana Dayan.
The students were deeply moved and awed by the accounts they heard. Danny Buckingholts, a senior at Sy Syms School of Business and president of the Yeshiva Student Union, asked the rabbi what emotions were appropriate to express as a nation and how people should go about living their ordinary lives after such an event.
“All strength comes from God alone; when I question what happens in this world, I do so knowing that God knows all and everything, and judgment is his alone,” Rabbi Weiss said.
Ms. Moriah, who grew up in rural New Hampshire and converted to Judaism, spoke about the life of her late son. Though only in high school, Avraham David was already skilled at reading the weekly Torah portion in synagogue. She recounted some of the precocious study habits of the other young victims, one of whom, a 16-year-old, had reviewed the entire six tractates of Mishnah 50 to 60 times.
“I have lost one son, but I have gained 300,” Ms. Moriah said. “My commitment and tafkid [mission] has shifted to working for the wellbeing and recovery of the remaining students of Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav.”