Bomb victims came from Israel, abroad


WHIPPANY, N.J., Aug. 14 (JTA) — Hundreds of friends, family members, classmates and former students of Shoshana Greenbaum were among those gathered at Har Hamenuchot Cemetery in Israel to pay their last respects.

Greenbaum, 31, of Passaic, N.J., had been five months pregnant. Buried last Friday, she was one of 15 people who died Aug. 9 when a suicide bomber entered a crowded Jerusalem pizzeria and detonated a large bomb packed with nails to maximize its lethal effect.

Greenbaum’s husband, Shmuel, had returned to the United States two days before the attack, after spending the summer with her in Jerusalem, where Greenbaum attended a summer program for students seeking master’s degrees in Jewish education.

Shmuel Greenbaum returned to Israel for last Friday’s funeral, then left again Saturday night.

Greenbaum’s parents could not make it to Israel before the Sabbath so the family, after consulting their rabbi, decided to hold the funeral last Friday, without her parents. They plan to go to Israel to mark the end of shloshim, the traditional 30-day mourning period.

Greenbaum’s parents were “broken up” by their only child’s death, said Marni Benuck of Passaic. Benuck and Greenbaum had been friends since they were 12-year-old girls growing up together in Los Angeles.

“She spent her whole life helping people,” Benuck said of Greenbaum. “She was beautiful inside and out.”

Greenbaum’s aunt, Shoshana Hayman of the West Bank settlement of Elkana, had expected to host Greenbaum last Shabbat.

She said that Greenbaum came to Israel quite regularly for family events and often spent the Sabbath with Hayman’s family.

Hayman described Greenbaum as a passionate teacher whose love of her profession inspired a love of learning in her students.

Hayman’s husband, Pinhas, a Talmud lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, said Greenbaum often would discuss with him methods and principles of teaching Jewish concepts.

“She was a very giving and loving person,” he said. “We treated her as part of our immediate family. The family was destroyed by this tragedy.”

He recalled that the Greenbaums were very enthusiastic about the forthcoming birth of their first child.

Greenbaum had waited a long time to marry, Hayman said, because she wanted to make sure she found the right husband.

Hayman hoped that his niece’s death would serve as a wake-up call for Diaspora Jews to move to Israel.

It doesn’t matter to Arabs whether Jews “live in Israel or in New Jersey. A Jew is a Jew is a Jew,” Hayman said.

“People in New Jersey should remember they can’t hide their Jewish destiny in New Jersey, that their real place is in Israel,” Hayman said. “Solidarity missions are not enough. They should live here, because the only solution to destruction is building.”

Close friend Shoshana Greenspan said Greenbaum was “super excited about the baby and the fact that she had started to hear the heartbeat.”

Greenspan, who lives in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Eshkol, was one of the last people Greenbaum spoke to before her death, telling her friend she would pick up lunch on the way to Greenspan’s house.

Now, Greenspan regrets that Greenbaum turned down an invitation to eat with her at home, and instead went to the pizza shop.

According to Greenspan, Greenbaum never expressed any fear about being in Jerusalem at a time of conflict or changed her routine because of the security situation.

“If she took a taxi, it was because of time, not fear,” Greenspan said. “Her faith was much too strong to be scared of walking around in public places.”

A second woman with a New Jersey connection is clinging to life after the Aug. 9 attack.

Chana Tova Chaya Nachenberg, 31, is in critical condition after a nail penetrated her heart.

Now a resident of Israel, Nachenberg was born in the Bronx, moved to Israel at the age of 10 and returned to the United States to attend high school in Lakewood, N.J.

Nachenberg was at the pizzeria with her three-year-old daughter, Sarah, her uncle, Howard Green, and his wife, Dora, when the bomb went off.

Nachenberg was hit with shrapnel and remains in a coma after the nail was removed during surgery. Green suffered second-degree burns in the attack. Sarah was released after being held one night for observation in a local hospital.

The Aug. 9 bombing took place at the Sbarro Restaurant on the corner of King George and Jaffa streets, one of downtown Jerusalem’s busiest intersections.

It occurred around 2 p.m., when the restaurant was filled with customers, many of them parents with children on summer vacation.

Among those killed by the suicide bomber were:

• Lily Shamilashvili, 33, and her daughter, Tamar, 8, both from Jerusalem. They were buried together last Friday.

• Frida Mendelsohn, 62, from Jerusalem. She was buried the night of the bombing.

• Yocheved Shoshan, 10, of Jerusalem, also buried Aug. 9.

• Malka Roth, 15, of Jerusalem, had immigrated to Israel from Australia with her family when she was just an infant. She succumbed to her injuries last Friday and was buried that day.

• Tehila Maoz, 19, of Jerusalem, had worked as a waitress at the restaurant. She was buried last Friday.

• Michal Raziel, 16, of Jerusalem, lost her father to illness when she was a child. Buried last Friday, she is survived by a mother and three sisters.

• Zvi Golumbak, 26, a Hebrew University student from Carmiel, was buried last Friday in his hometown.

• Giora Balash, 60, from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He came to Israel with his wife and family for his son’s funeral, which was to take place this week. He was buried last Friday in Ashkelon.

The suicide bomber also claimed the lives of five members of the Schijverschuurder family: Mordechai, 43, Tzira, 41, and three of their children, Raya, 14, Avraham-Yitzhak, 4, and Hemda, 2.

Residents of the settlement of Neriya near Jerusalem, the family had come to have fun at the Jerusalem pizza parlor.

Mordechai Schijverschuurder had immigrated to Israel from Holland when he was 17. His parents were Holocaust survivors.

Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau had married the Schijverschuurders — and spoke at their funeral last Friday.

Lau wondered aloud how remaining family members would be able to go on after such a tragedy, then asked another question: “Until when shall the wicked rejoice?”

There are five surviving children in the Schijverschuurder family: Two girls who were injured in the attack, Leah, 11, and Haya, 8, remain hospitalized. There are also three boys, Ben-Zion, 22, Meir, 20, and Israel, 17. They read the Kaddish at last Friday’s funeral.

Leah insisted on leaving the hospital to attend the funeral. She was brought there on a stretcher.

Her younger sister Haya could not attend.

Instead, she sent a message with a relative, who read it aloud at the funeral: “Father, Mother, Raya, Avraham-Yitzhak, Hemda — I loved you very much, but unfortunately we must have received punishment from heaven.”

Haya, who was still in the hospital this week recovering from her wounds, recalled the fateful day.

“Suddenly there was an explosion,” she said Tuesday. “I thought I dreamed it, and that everything would return as it was, but then I realized that it was real, and I ran out, I understood that I needed to get outside.

“Then I saw my brother, for the last time. I wanted to tell him that I am taking leave from him until we shall all return home, but he did not answer me. He just lay there and did not say a word.”

She also described her first encounter with her older brothers after the explosion: “Their shirts were torn, but at first they would not say why.

“Then they told me that my parents died, and that my sister died and my younger brothers died. I didn’t believe that this is what happened to my parents, and to my brothers and sister.

“I was always a happy girl. Everyone said that I was always happy. I would like to be happy again.”

(JTA correspondent Gil Sedan in Jerusalem contributed to this report.)

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