Remembering Terem Founder Dr. David Applebaum And Those Victims Of The Hillel Cafe Attack


Anyone living in Israel will easily recognize the name Terem. Terem is an  Immediate Care Center, which revolutionized emergency care in Jerusalem by treating relatively minor injuries and ailments in a freestanding clinic, freeing up hospital emergency rooms to deal with more serious cases.

Terem was established by Dr. David Applebaum, who was born in Detroit and came to Israel with a very unique talent, which he put to work almost immediately upon his arrival in 1981 from Cleveland, Ohio. That is where he had received his medical training. He also received rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Aaron Soloveitchik at the Brisk Yeshiva in Chicago. He served as a medical director of Magen David Adom in Jerusalem, as well as working in Shaare Zedek from 1985 to 1988. He then left the hospital to establish Terem.

Terem has become the place where most Israelis go in the event of a sudden injury that is difficult to treat in a typical doctor’s office but is less serious or urgent than would justify taking the patient to the hospital emergency room. From its very beginning, Terem has been in demand throughout Israel and the number of branches continues to expand.

I know that Dr. Applebaum would have been so proud of what he established along with many others who helped him. Yes, unfortunately I have to use the past tense since Dr. Applebaum and his daughter Nava were tragically killed in the Hillel Café terrorist attack on September 9, 2003.

To use the word tragically somehow does not accurately explain how deeply Dr. Applebaum’s death affected everyone who knew him. Dr. Applebaum had been asked to give a special presentation in the US using his talents as an expert in managing emergency room preparedness. This presentation took place shortly before the second anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Dr. Applebaum must have been overjoyed when he returned home because Nava’s wedding was scheduled to take place on September 10, and Dr. Applebaum did not want to miss having a father-to-daughter talk with the new Kallah before the wedding. So he made special arrangements to go with his daughter and headed for Hillel Café in Jerusalem’s German Colony the night before.

It appears the terrorist had just arrived at around the same time as Dr. Applebaum and Nava. It was an alert security guard working at the entrance to the Café who stopped the terrorist, whereupon the explosive device detonated resulting the deaths of Dr. Applebaum and Nava who were entering the Café at that very moment. Besides the security guard, four others were killed and over 50 were injured.

Words cannot accurately describe the shock on everyone’s face in the hospital Emergency Room when Dr. Applebaum and  his daughter arrived now as victims of this senseless attack. And there also were no words to explain the pain and misery everyone close to the Kallah and Chasan felt when the news broke that the Kallah would not be attending her wedding, but rather they would be attending her funeral along with that of her father.

The funeral house was overflowing with people who heard the news and came to pay their last respects. It was a very tragic ending to what should have been a time when the family should have been celebrating. But , of course, that is not for us to decide, and we must trust G-d in good times and bad.

But What If That Attack Never Happened And Dr. Applebaum Was Alive Today?

It is impossible to predict the future, but I do want to make some observations.

The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a very up-to-the-minute news site including all the most recent terrorist attacks, which can be found at the following link-

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Since Dr. Applebaum was such an expert in looking into the future regarding emergency medical care, I am certain that there would be other ideas which he would have developed to assist with the growing demand for such services due to the large increase in people making Aliyah from around the world.

His personality was also a very big reason so many people respected him. Many people I talked to would say that Dr. Applebaum was the type of person who would want to help you whenever and wherever he could. He was always there for anyone needing his advice which obviously explains why he was so successful in his profession because he had a good relationship with co-workers and patients alike.

But I also want to suggest some food for thought – In an earlier Blog I demonstrated the benefits of making peace and not war, such as was the case with the American Indians, who stopped fighting with the white man nearly 100 years ago. That resulted in a real peace between the two sides. And today the American Indians are prospering with help from experts from all fields to establish American Indian Reservations with a way to earn a living for its population. The end result has been economic growth for a vast majority of the Indian Reservations throughout the US.

So since Omar and Tlaib were banned from Israel, if they would only take a tour of the Indian Reservations nearest them that have prospered from the strong US economy, then maybe they will finally realize what peace can accomplish.

At their recent news conference, Tlaib was sobbing because of strict security measures Israel must use at various checkpoints to keep its citizens safe. She said she was there when a relative was in a terrible car accident, and her cousin and her cried so that relative could have access to the best hospitals that were in Jerusalem.

Now let us just pause here for a minute and think this one through.

It is a known fact that medical care in Israel is far superior than that available in the Palestinian territories.. But there are many Arabs who come to Israeli hospitals for treatment so Tlaib is not painting an accurate picture with her sob story.

And with all the terrorist attacks taking place, why should those who hate Israel like Omar and Tlaib be allowed to benefit from the services of Israeli hospitals, when those hospitals have their hands full taking care of Israelis?

In fact it should be noted that Israel pays each of its citizens a certain amount when a new child is born into the family. And then every month the family receives a small stipend to help pay for expenses for each child. It’s not much, but every little bit helps.

This contrasts sharply with the Palestinian Authority Martyrs Fund the Palestinians have established to pay terrorists a monthly allowance for those who carry out terrorist attacks on Israel and its citizens.

But the main point I want to get at here is what Tlaib admits in her statement is a big problem for Palestinians in the Territories, and that is the poor medical care that is available. This obviously is caused by the lack of proper medical schools and personnel who could train Palestinians in the field of medicine with all the latest techniques.

And it is here I want to again mention Dr. David Applebaum. Just imagine if there were no terror attacks and a genuine peace between the Palestinians and Israel.  If Dr. Applebaum lived today, then it is most likely he would have been called upon by the Palestinians to help establish a hospital which contained the latest equipment and state of the art technology to attract patients and doctors to that hospital. Dr. Applebaum could have also assisted in establishing a Terem facility in a number of Palestinian villages and territories which would have made it unnecessary for the Palestinian residents to travel to Jerusalem, when this facility was completed.

With hindsight, it is all a dream of course, and one that does not look like becoming a reality for many years to come, and that is the sad truth behind all of this. The Palestinians could have chosen a better life for themselves if they had become partners in peace with this being a prime example.

About the Author
Born and raised in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Married to a South African, we lived in Johannesburg from 1979 to 1996. Made Aliyah with our seven children on Parshat Lech Lecha. BSB Accounting Degree from the University of Minnesota. Investment Portfolio Manager /Fundamental And Technical Analyst. Wrote in-depth research on companies, markets, commodities for leading financial publications. Served in the US Army Reserves Semi Retired spending quality time with my wife, children, grandchildren and attend Kollel while analyzing current events as they relate to Torah and Mitzvahs.
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