Julie Leboff

A packet of tissues a phone and a bottle of water

Last week I went to my first funeral of someone murdered by a terrorist.
Eilan Ganeles an American citzen who had served in the IDF some years ago was back here visiting for a wedding. He was driving on route 90 and was shot at point blank range and killed.

When Elan was a lone soldier he used to spend shabbats in Ra’anana with his Aunty Uncle and cousins.

The funeral was held at 1pm in the old cemetery in Ra’anana. A ten-minute drive from my house.

I arranged to meet a friend and go with her. As we walked towards the cemetery I saw people walking with israeli flags, tv crews and buses startng to pull up with people in them..

It was a really hot day today 27 degrees strange weather for february. There was a table with free bottles of water for everyone to take.

We sat on a wall quite far away from the front we didnt want to intrude .

I started to look around and noticed many people had the same things in their hands a packet of tissues a phone and a bottle of water.
I realised that even though this was my first time at a funeral like this I could see that people came prepared a packet of tissues?.A whole packet? is it possible to cry that many tears?

So many people from differnt walks of life. Religious , secular, young and old. All here to pay respects to a jew gunned down for being a jew.

Just before the funeral began I could hear singing in the distance my friend explained that all the schools in Ra anana had sent their youth to the funeral and they were standing outside the cemetery forming a long human chain singing sofrly the Jewish song Ani Mamin …I believe…..

People were asked to move aside and Elan was wheeled out with his family walking behind him..

It is so hard to comprehend the loss that this family has suffered and the shock.
The Rabbi spoke so beautifully about how all the people of Israel are hugging the family and embracing them and supporting them regardless of anyones poltical religious opinions. Everyone is just here now with pure love for another jew.

We didnt manage to hear all the eulogoes very clearly but I listened onliine afterwards to the beautiful words the family said..

A man was walking around with a bottle and cups pouring water for everyone he came up to us and offered us water a simple gesture that made me overcome with emotion .

We were not able to leave through the entrance we came in so we started to walk towards the other exit
As we were leaving hundreds of people were still coming in.

My friend commented that there were so many elderly people here paying their
repects it was so inspirimg to see the old paying tribute to the young.

We were walking up a steep hill to walk out and I saw a young man on crutches clearly in pain walking slowly down the hill towards the funeral his face looked so familair to me I felt liike I had seen him on the news before. Was he the victim of a a previous terrorist attack?

As we left the cemetery we passed buses parked up from different cities from far away, and more people many more
all with a packet of tissues water and a phone.

About the Author
Julie Leboff is an olah from the UK who made aliyah 13 years ago. She is a wife and mother as well as an English teacher to young children in Ra'anana.