by Hillel Krief (’16)

Ezra Schwartz Z”L, a 2015 graduate of Maimonides High School in Boston who was studying in Israel for the year, was tragically murdered in a terrorist attack last Thursday, along with four others. To extend their condolences and to show their support to his grieving family, members of the Yeshiva University community (which consisted of students from YC, Stern, Central, and MTA, which sent Jason Blatt, Hillel Krief, Shimmy Mandelbaum, Reuven Penn, and Avraham Tsikhanovski, along with Student Activities Director Mr. Elie Hirt) traveled to the Schwartz home in Sharon, Massachusetts to pay one of the most tragic and harrowing shiva visits of their lives, joining literally hundreds of others from around the country.

After a five hour bus ride, the students waited outside the house, along with approximately a hundred others, to spend five precious minutes with the family of Ezra Z”L. Ezra was killed while performing the chesed of distributing snacks to the brave IDF soldiers. Upon walking in to the Schwartz home, the visitors saw that there were at least 25 teens in the basement, 50 people in the main room, and 20 people around the rest of the house attempting to bring some comfort the Schwartz family. Dr. Schwartz, Ezra’s father, greeted all visitors with a warm smile and while everyone came to offer him comfort, he made the effort to comfort everyone else as he thanked them over and over for making the trek out there. On the way back to New York, Rabbi Benjamin Yudin, a YU faculty members and a leading rabbi of the Fair Lawn, NJ community – and father of Rabbi Nisanel “Gotch” Yudin, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Ashreinu where Ezra was studying, told the students on the bus that Dr. Schwartz had advised him that they (and all of Am Yisrael) need to see the good in this tragedy and realize that this event brought Am Yisrael together. We hope everyone can take a fraction of the inspiration and chizuk that the students got from this trip on Tuesday. We pray that the Schwartz family – and all of Klal Yisrael – be spared any further sorrow.


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