Our Gratitude - from the family of Sara Blaustein:
June 14, 2001
To the amazing people of Efrat,
With their permission I am writing this letter on behalf of my family, Atara, Sammy, Yoni, Norman, Tema, David Zev and Mommom, to thank all of the people of Efrat.
Although my mother lived here only a short time, the wave of love and friendship that flowed to us was enormous. I now know why she felt that she had lived here forever. We, too, feel that we have known you all forever. I now understand why she and Norman believed they lived in "paradise".
From the moment we arrived, you were all there. Ready to do whatever was needed, or just there so that we were not alone. We drove down Rechov Halamed-heh and the first thing we saw were signs hanging giving us love, encouragement and support. It's a seemingly small gesture, but it really was immense. As you all know, we had some very "important" people come to be menachem avel. We had Knesset members, mayors, IDF officials including an Aluf, Rosh Yeshivot, even a call from Moshe Katzav and many others. However, these were official visits, they were obligations. But you, the people of Efrat, were there because you cared.
I would never intentionally leave anybody out, but please allow me to thank certain individuals. I will try to remember everyone, but forgive me if I don't. All week long everyone asked us to not say thank you. But I think now is the time to finally say THANK YOU!
Firstly, Dr. Yitz Glick, who in our family is called "The Malach". Yitz was at the scene and tried to revive my mother, he accompanied her in the ambulance, and when it was clear there was no hope, he had the state of mind to instruct them not to enter Yerushalayim, to stay in the Gush. This was the right decision for so many reasons. Yitz took Sammy under his care. He oversaw his care in the hospital and because of him Sammy was permitted to attend our mother's funeral and sit shivah with the family for at least part of the time. He came regularly to administer medicine, change his bandages and to check in general on Sammy's health, and that of the entire family. He is an example of a hero and a tzadik to us. He will always be our "Malach".
Next, Louie Davies, who is no longer a friend of our family, he is our family. He took it upon himself to see to all the needs of our entire family. There was nothing Louie didn't "handle". And when Uncle Louie is handling things, we feel safe and secure.
Yossi and Sarah Baumol, who my mother loved and respected so much. Thank G-d they were spared from this tragedy. They were there from the moment they heard and they never left our side. I know they, too, are in pain.
My mother and Norman were lucky to find a landlord like the Isaacs family. They are true friends. Every morning for the entire week of shivah (and then some), there was fresh milk, juice, bread, hot water, coffee, pastries and homemade cakes waiting for us. They made our sad house feel like we were in a home.
Bob and Barbara Lang and Susan Leibowitz, who attended to so many details, including the hospital arrangements, the travel arrangements, the food arrangements and really went "lifnim mishurat hadin".
All the women who cooked, baked and served us meals for a week (we are not a small group!); the women from my mother's shiur who went to visit Sammy in the hospital; the men, women and children who went up to Tamar and gave kavod to my mother's memory; the medics who attended to the entire family at the funeral and wouldn't let us out of their sight; the people from Efrat who helped at the scene of the attack - including the man who stayed with Norman all the way to the hospital because he saw that Norman spoke no Hebrew and would need a translator; the woman who heard my husband had to leave before me and offered to watch my baby when he left; the Chevra Kadisha; the Bet Midrash L'Nashim who gave so many shiurim in my mother's name; all of Atara's friends who didn't leave her side from the moment they heard and all through the week; the women who ceremoniously took my mother's place on the bus to Kever Rachel; Rabbi Riskin, Rabbi Schraeder, Rachel, Sarah Jo, Ann, Ettie, Vicky, Marilyn, Shelly, Ruby, Ari.....and so many other names I can't remember but faces I'll never forget.
My brothers and I are leaving to the states tonight, and Atara and Norman will be coming next week. We all feel the same way. We don't want to leave. We feel a strong kesher to Efrat and the people who live here. Not only because we feel my mother's presence here so strongly, but also becasue we feel at home with all of you. You helped us through an unbearable, unimaginable tragedy that still does not seem real.
But you should know, we will be back. Atara and Norman will return after the summer, and my brothers and I have taken steps to move up our plans for aliyah. It was never a question of "if", it was only "when". Until then, we'll see you on Succot.