Over 300 students, faculty and members of the community gathered this morning in The Lieberman Family Beit Midrash to hear an address by Racheli Fraenkel, mother of Naftali Fraenkel – one of three Israeli teens abducted and murdered in the West Bank in June. In an intimate, emotionally-gripping and inspirational talk, Mrs. Fraenkel addressed Grade 10 and 11 students from Hebrew Academy, and Grade 11 students from Bialik, Herzliah and École Maimonide.
Following a moving introduction by Rabbi Rouben Poupko of Congregation Beth Israel Beth Aaron, Mrs. Fraenkel spoke about the events surrounding the teens’ abduction, and highlighted the many positive outcomes that resulted from the terrible tragedy, including Am Yisrael’s incredible Achdut, commitment to Tfilla and faith in Hashem.
“I try to take the sweet from the bitter,” said Mrs. Fraenkel, when asked how she perpetually presents herself with poise, dignity and optimism. “My husband and I, as well as the parents of the other teens, resolved that we were not going lead our lives wearing masks. When it is time to be happy, we are extremely happy, and live life to the fullest, and enjoy things. When it is time to cry, we cry.”
Grade 10 students Elisheva Isenberg and Danielle Levi thanked Mrs. Fraenkel on behalf of all the students, and Eliana Rohr, Rebecca Azoulay, Jana Sternthal and Gabriella Mallamud presented her with a beautiful painting they dedicated in the boys’ memory.
Grade 10 and 11 boys are currently working on a Sefer compiling Divrei Torah which they hope to publish in the boys’ memory as well.
Mrs. Fraenkel’s desire to engage youth similar in age to her late son Naftali z”l, speaks volumes about her sensitivity, compassion and profound desire to be a source of comfort to all who were touched by the boys’ tragic murder. It was a zechut to welcome her to our school.