There is never a good time.

When death occurs it is always sad.

“Circle of life” works for a man of 88 who had been sick for many of his last years, but was successful in business, had five children, 31 grandchildren and over 20 great-grandchildren and counting.  The doctors thought he would not make it through Rosh Hashana – two years ago, but he showed them wrong then, as he did so many other times.

My father passed away last week, quietly surrounded by his extended family, three days after his newest great-grandchild’s brit milah.

I got the call from the doctor that my father was having trouble breathing on the way home from Tel Aviv’s Old Train Station where OneFamily was hosting an event to launch its book and art project, “Longing for a Hug.”

Longing for a hug photo launch

photo – Sharon Altshul

Education Minister Shai Piron

Danny Danon greets David Hatuel as Marc Belzberg  watches

photo – Sharon Altshul

and Deputy Minister of Defense Danny Danon were two of the politicians and Knesset members present.

launch of book Longing for a Hug in Old Train Station Tel Aviv

photo – Sharon Altshul

The audience included hundreds who have known the death of family members.

Paz ben Shabat poses by her name and art piece

photo – Sharon Altshul

Paz ben Shabat, one of the child authors, wrote about her father’s death in “Longing for a Hug.”

Standing in shul on Rosh Hashana listening to U’Netaneh Tokef  “who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation, and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander…”

Too many names came to mind.

Little Koby Mandel z”l had play dates with my three year old daughter, ten years before he was stoned to death by terrorists.The Koby Mandel Foundation was set up by his parents to help and heal.

Malki Roth z”l played with my daughter in the snow in Ramot only a few years before she and 14 others were killed by a suicide bomber in Sbarro Pizza shop. The Malki Foundation was established after that senseless terrorist attack.

The Applebaum family has supported and expanded Terem Health emergency centers, after Dr. David z”l and Nava z”l were killed by a suicide bomber at Cafe Hillel on the eve of her wedding.

After he was shot and killed in his car, Dr. Shmuel Gillis‘ z”l family set up a special place for soldiers to rest and eat; his daughter Neta is another of the “Longing for a Hug’ authors..

Men' s choir sings at Tel Aviv Old Train station.

photo – Sharon Altshul

The One Family Choir, men whose relatives were murdered, get together once a week to eat and to sing and to go on with life.

stage at Tel Aviv launch One Family

photo – Sharon Altshul

One Family has helped thousands of victims of terror to smile again.

So many deaths, too many that do not fit the “circle of life.”

Longing for a Hug exhibit, Yoram Raanon

photo – Sharon Altshul

“Dance of Life,” an acrylic on canvas painting by Yoram Raanan, is the work of art that goes with Roee Rosen’s piece about his mother Eliyah Rosen z”l. From the red of blood comes beautiful color.

Israelis do not use being a victim of terror as an excuse for a circle of death, they learn to sing and work to make the world a better place.

As all around the Middle East there are suicide bombings, murders and deadly protests, the traditional seasonal greeting becomes all the more meaningful,

G’mar Chatima tova,

“May all be inscribed for a good year.”

See more photos and details on “Longing for a Hug” launch.