After the tragic death of little Chaya, we learnt today that another victim, called Karen Yamima Mosquera died from her wounds in that same terrible attack.

Karen was from Ecuador – a country about as far removed from Israel as you can get, yet something inside motivated the twenty two year old to make the long trip.  It is reported that she was in the process of converting to Judaism.

I’ve always wandered about that.  What motivates those, who are not born Jewish, to become Jewish?  You see, to be Jewish is not a right.  It’s not something you can simply demand.  It can be a choice – but it is not an easy choice.  It is a choice that can be fraught with difficulty, frustration and a certain degree of hindrance.  And even when you learn everything there is about being Jewish – the customs, the language, the laws, the traditions, the mitzvoth – to the point where you’d likely have more knowledge than many born Jews ever will – it’s still no guarantee you’ll become one.  It is a difficult journey, yet it was one that Karen had begun.

It is often said that for those who convert, they already have a Jewish soul inside them.  And it is that Jewish spark that drives that desire to undertake the difficult journey.  So maybe Karen’s journey was not simply a choice that she made, but rather a choice that was made for her by a Jewish spirit that lay inside – a Jewish spirit that longed to be reunited with her people.

I did not know Karen, nor will I ever meet her – yet I have nothing for her but the utmost respect.  She may not be remembered by the international media, but she will be remembered by the people of Israel.

And so as another victim of barbarism is buried, we need to ask those who want to equate Israel with the people who want to hurt it, if there can be a clearer distinction than the story of Karen?

Because Karen Yamima Mosquera came to Israel motivated by love, yet was taken away by those motivated by hate.