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Mercaz Harav
by Judy Lash Balint
March 7, 2008

The victims of the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva terror attack:

. Segev Pniel Avihail, 15, of Neve Daniel
. Neria Cohen, 15, of Jerusalem
. Yonatan Yitzhak Eldar, 16, of Shilo
. Yonadav Haim Hirshfeld, 19, of Kohav Hashahar
. Yohai Lifshitz, 18, of Jerusalem
. Doron Tronoh Maharata, 26, of Ashdod
. Avraham David Moses, 16, of Efrat
. Ro'i Rot, 18, of Elkana

Late last night I received an e mail from a former colleague who now works for CNN in Atlanta. He asked if I could provide their news desk with a description of the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva so that they could give their story "a bit more color."

As I spoke to the news assistant over the phone to try to describe the yeshiva, I realized that there was absolutely no way for her to possibly grasp the blow the terrorist had tried to impart on one of the central institutions of contemporary Israeli life.

How to describe the fact that the ideas and actions emanating from Mercaz Harav have fashioned the Israel of today? From promoting the thought of Rav Kook to the philosophy of settling Judaea and Samaria to providing a base for Avital Sharansky and her worldwide campaign for freedom for Natan Sharansky and hundreds of thousands of other former Soviet Jews, to training Israel's best educators and sending the best students to serve in the top IDF combat units---all this, and more, may be attributed to Mercaz Harav.

And in a few hours time, on a perfect Jerusalem spring morning, eight Mercaz Harav teenagers and young students will be buried in cemeteries all over the land.

There's not a doubt in my mind that the people and activities of Mercaz Harav will only be strengthened by the tragedy that has befallen this venerable institution.

In the words of Rav Kook: "A little light dispels much darkness..."

Shabbat shalom from Jerusalem