Gathered under the glowing Chagall windows, women from across Israel joined together for a truly special Rosh Chodesh gathering at Hadassah Hospital. Welcoming the month of Shevat—a month of renewal—voices gathered in prayer and in song for the healing of Netanel Ilan ben Shayna Tzipora, and for the continued strength of his family and particularly his mother, our friend, Judi Abramson Felber.
Judi served as our communications manager at Israel Forever for two years, inspiring hundreds of thousands of Virtual Citizens of Israel with our content, programs and initiatives in our weekly mailings. Her love for the people, the land and the heritage of Israel came through in everything she did. When her youngest was inducted into the Israeli army, she shared her pride and fear in a personal story as an American mom in Israel, facing a whole new set of realities.
Now, Netanel lies fighting for his life, battling to survive from a brain injury after being shot multiple times by a terrorist who stole the lives of two other young soldiers that day.
Judi’s worst fears are now real. Like so many mothers of Israel before her, like other mothers of Israel after her …
Netanel’s family seems like a pillar of strength, as they welcome the many guests who come from near and far to visit, pay their respects and bring comfort to the family of this son of Israel. But only other families of victims of terror can know just how hard it is to get through day after day of hoping, praying and awaiting small signs that hint of movement towards the healing of the loved one, battling to survive.
The prayers and messages received from around the world are a testament to the collective heart of the Jewish people. And since we know the power of prayer and community, we wanted to do something special to honor Judi, an Eishet Chayil, Woman of Valor, whose smile—like Netanel’s smile for those who know him—is a demonstration of her determination: We will not live in fear, we will not give up hope, we will not allow even the worst of circumstances to break our spirit.
Anyone in attendance couldn’t help but feel inspired by the inspirational words of Rebbetzin Shoshie Pool and the beautiful singing by Chana’le Fellig-Harrel and longtime friend of Judi’s, Liz Kruger. The significance of the location was not lost on anyone as we sat below the glowing colored light of the Chagall windows in the Abbell Synagogue of Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, each window representing one of the 12 tribes of ancient Israel.
As she shared the history of these works of historical art, Barbara Sofer of Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization highlighted the inheritance we receive as women from the song of Miriam—about whom we read in Parsha Beshalach—which did not begin during the exodus from Egypt, but rather long before, invoking a vision, a dream of what would come ahead: the return to our homeland.
Much like Judi and most of the women in attendance, they, too, had prepared their song of strength before lifting themselves from their life in the Diaspora to build anew here in the Land of Israel.
Read full story at The Israel Forever Foundation.