By: Leah Frankel  | 

Unpack With YUPAC: Our Responsibility to One Another

On April 7, three members of the Dee family of Efrat were tragically murdered in a brutal terrorist attack. A family of seven was turned into a family of four when sisters Maia and Rina and their mother Lucy were killed. Listening to the eulogies of the surviving family members, it is very easy to see how special they were; a family fully devoted to Torah and Hashem, to kindness and to everyone around them.

This awful event cannot simply be allowed to pass us by, and we must seize upon the great lessons that we can learn from this tragedy to improve ourselves. We can do this in part by looking at the lessons and words of inspiration that our rabbis and the surviving members of the Dee family shared.

It’s unfortunate that it always takes tragedy to unite Am Yisrael. This point was discussed in greater detail when Rav Efrem Goldberg and Rav Shay Schachter went to pay a Shiva call to the Dee family. When speaking to the Kehila [congregation] in Efrat, Rav Goldberg explained that Am Yisrael has to stay together not just during monumental or difficult times, but during everyday life. He explained that the way to end Galus [exile] is to have loyalty to each other not only when tragedy is faced, but also during our everyday lives. When we face threats, we come together. But those feelings naturally fade. A few years back when the three boys were murdered, we never would have imagined that the loyalty we felt to each other would dwindle, and yet it did so quickly! Am Yisrael has a history in common, and that history led us to be here today, and we are headed together to our destiny. Whatever we disagree about, we have so much more in common. We need to become loyal to each other once again, and this time for good, in order to end the constant pain of Jews being attacked all around the world.

Rabbi Dee has been a role model to all of us during this incredibly hard time for him and his family. Rabbi Dee has taught Am Yisrael many important lessons over the past few challenging weeks. He said he hopes that “people have learned two things: Number one, that if in a situation of tragedy, everyone can come together, then we can come together anytime we want to; the possibility is there. Secondly, what brings us together is some positivity. I think that if there’s love that’s shown towards people, they want to come together. If people criticize each other, which unfortunately is the modern way between politicians and between Facebook groups, then we’ll just create a polarized society. So I think we have to accept the other people, we have to show that we love other people and we want to listen to them, even if we don’t agree.”

Over the past two weeks, we have commemorated the three Yoms; Yom Hashoah, Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut. They have reinforced the importance of what it means to be a part of a nation, one with a past that bonds us, and a legacy that we have the achrayus [responsibility] to live on. We have to continue to take our common connection to the Yoms, and do our best to keep on connecting to each other. 

Talia, one of the surviving Dee sisters, wrote an article explaining that she always thought she was connected to Yom Hazikaron, but she never would have thought that her family would be the ones being remembered at the ceremony. Talia said, “I remember myself standing at the siren, closing my eyes and shedding a tear over an emotional passage or a sad song. I’ve always connected to Memorial Day ceremonies. At least that’s what I thought. That this is how you feel when you connect.” It’s hard to transition from a day of remembrance to a day of joy and celebration, and it’s hard to fathom such a transition when you are as personally connected to the day as one can possibly be.

It is important to remember that whether or not we agree with everyone, it is important to feel a sense of responsibility to one another. We have the ability to make decisions on how we approach one another and how we react to others. This doesn’t mean that everything we say or do will be perfect, it just means that we should give it a try. We have to appreciate everyone we have around us and keep the Jewish family alive.

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Photo Caption: Rabbi Leo Dee with Rabbi Shay Schachter and Rabbi Efrem Goldberg

Photo Credit: @5TownsCentral via Twitter