Dear Dalya: On Your First Yahrzeit

Dear Dalya:

Tonight, the 17th of MarCheshvan, your family and friends will mark one year since your murder. Last year, the day after you were murdered, I wrote an article addressed to you after that terrible tragedy. I acknowledged from the beginning that I never knew you, and, still I felt that I knew you so very well. You reminded me of so many young women I know, as I stared at your face appearing all over my Facebook feed. That was then…this is now.

Over the past year, I have gotten to know you much better through your very special aunt (Sarina) and my constant contact with her and indirect contact (through Sarina) with your parents. Over the past year, I have learned that my initial impressions were very accurate: You were THE one whom every one knew would be there to help THEM. Your smile lit up the room; your shoulder was there for others to cry on. You embodied simcha/joy. It was for that reason that your family decided to commission the Simchat Dalya Hall in Tekoa. You brought so much joy into peoples’ lives, and it is appropriate that they celebrate their happy occasions in a hall with your name attached to it!

Dalya, I never “really” knew you, yet, on the eve of your first yahrzeit, I find myself sitting here in tears and sad; I feel a profound sense of loss. I miss you greatly. Your family and friends, those who indeed knew you, were the fortunate ones. They are the ones with whom you came into contact on a daily basis. They are the ones whose lives you touched. But in your death, you have touched my life. You have affected my life.

Tonight, I will light a candle in your memory. How fitting a memorial–you were a candle and a light to others and then, your life was taken from us by an Arab murderer. However, the difference between that candle and you is that after the candle burns out, there is nothing left. With you, Dalya, your memory lives on in so many people; in those who knew you– and those who did not.

I miss you Dalya. Those around you have suffered a terrible loss. I pray for the day when Mashiach arrives and you will be reunited with your loved ones. And on that day, I look forward to telling you what you meant to me, after you left this Earth.

May your memory be for a blessing and may Hashem avenge your death.

תהא נשמתה צרורה בצרור החיים

About the Author
After living in Chicago for 50 years, the last 10 of which Zev Shandalov served as a shul Rav and teacher in local Orthodox schools, his family made Aliya to Maale Adumim in July 2009. Shandalov currently works as a teacher, mostly interacting with individual students.