Home Visit: Tsfat: February 26th, 2007
The Family Of Daniel Harush
By Sara Bedein, Coordinator of Home Visits
Tzippi and Mano Harush's 16-year-old son, Daniel was murdered in a suicide
bus bombing attack on March 5th 2003 in Haifa.
Tzippi has been on one of KMF's Mothers Healing Retreats and is a steady
member of our Moa'don in Haifa.
Tzippi and Mano both received me graciously into their beautiful home. One
entire wall of the living room serves as a memorial wall for Daniel. An
electric memorial candle burns day and night alongside the many pictures
showing various stages in Daniel's short life. Most prominent are pictures
of Daniel in the military academy at the Riali School in Haifa, receiving
various awards and pictures in army uniform training with his classmates.
Two of Israel's Chief of Staff's are graduates of this prestigious academy.
Daniel's dream was to become a pilot.
Facing the memorial wall is a wall covered with pictures of the couple's
three older daughter's weddings as well as pictures of their grandchildren.
Around their necks and close to their hearts, Tzippi and Mano, as well as
their three daughters, wear at all times a gold necklace with a pendant
engraved with Daniel's smiling handsome face. Daniel was their only son,
born 9 years after the couple's third daughter. Mano says, " I had a crown
and Daniel was the jewel in the crown".
As the three of us sit around the dining room table eating the wholesome
dinner Tzippi has prepared, both Tzippi and Mano take turns telling me about
the special person Daniel was and what a loss he is to his adoring family,
his friends who looked up to him and the promise of the great leader that
was nipped in the bud by a cruel killer consumed with mindless rage and
hatred. Time has only served to intensify the loss.
"Daniel was every parent's dream of a child", said Tzippi. "You never heard
the word "no", from him. No matter what you asked him to do, he always
willingly went about the task. He gave us the utmost honor and respect."
When Daniel became bar mitzvah he reached a turning point and became torah
observant. His enthusiasm for observance of Jewish tradition was infectious
and Daniel served as a bridge between non-observant and observant Jews.
Though attending a secular military academy in Haifa, Daniel would charm his
friends into getting up early on Shabbat mornings to make up the quorum
needed to conduct the Sabbath service in the small synagogue on the premises
of the school.
At Daniel's shiva, the father of one of Daniel's classmates related how his
son had asked Daniel to study with him for a very difficult upcoming test.
Daniel agreed but on the condition that the friend got up on Shabbat morning
to make up the quorum needed for the services. The friend balked, saying
that it was the only morning he could get up late and besides what did he
know about praying. Growing up on a Shomer Hatzair kibbutz he didn't even
have a Bar mitzvah. Daniel would not be deterred. He repeated: "This is the
condition. Take it or leave it." The friend knew that Daniel was the only
one in the class capable of helping him pass this test. He agreed to the
condition and true to his word, Daniel sat up with his friend until 2:00 AM
and helped him get a good grade on the test. The friend also kept his end of
the promise and showed up bright and early for Shabbat morning services.
Daniel had written out on small flash cards the blessings his friend needed
to say when called up to the Torah. When services were over, the friend told
Daniel that though he had lived his entire life in a Jewish country, this
was the first time he felt Jewish! When the boy returned home he asked his
kibbutz secular parents to buy him a pair of tfillin (phylacteries).
After Daniel's murder, his friends renovated the small school synagogue and
named it for him.
Tzippi visits her son's grave without fail every Friday. She spends several
hours there, tending to the "Garden of Eden" that she planted around the
grave, updating Daniel with what's going on with the family and pouring out
her heart filled with pain. Mano visits the grave on Thursdays, spending
several hours there.
The family donated a Torah scroll in Daniel's memory. The Torah Scroll was
placed in the Abuhav Synagogue in Tsfat's Jewish Quarter where Daniel's Bar
Mitzvah ceremony was held. To pay for the high cost of the Torah scroll, the
couple used the money they had been saving up for Daniel's higher education
and the wedding day he will never have.
Every Shabbat, Mano attends services at the Abuhav synagogue and when the
Torah scroll is brought out he holds it close to his heart in a tender
embrace, making believe for those brief moments that he is embracing his
It is difficult to look into Mano's eyes as he recounts story after story
about his son. His eyes are so filled with pain and often fill with tears
that roll down his cheeks unchecked. Pointing to the memorial wall in the
living room he says: "When I feel really, really sad, I sit facing this wall
for a long time and feel like I can't go on living. When the feeling is about to consume me, then I turn around and look at this wall - the pictures
of my daughters and the lives they have built for themselves and know that I
need to find the strength to go on."