An Open Letter of Support for Chen Solomon

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Dear Chen:

I do hope that you will see, read and take to heart the words of this post. Yesterday, I read your heartbreaking post on Facebook. It touched me to the core. I reproduce here it here for those who may not have seen it.

“Shalom , My name is Chen Solomon, wife of Shmuel Solomon and mother of Ari Yosef Solomon.
I am the mother of the baby my family celebrated for him a moment before the terror attack in Halamish.
On 20.7.17 was the happiest day of my life, I gave birth to my first son, after a long and difficult birth in which I lost a lot of blood and the heat went up and I was 12 hours in the delivery room, I gave birth to my first son, a beautiful and healthy baby.
While we were in the hospital, happy about the birth of our baby, we received a phone call about a terrorist who penetrated a house in the community. From that moment our world was destroyed, the joy became mourning. We realized very quickly that this was our home, the house where Shmuel my husband had grown up all his life. Whose house had become a murder scene.
The terrorist heard laughter and decided to destroy the joy. He entered the house and murdered his father, Yosef Solomon, his older sister, Chaya Solomon, and his brother, who was his best friend, Elad Solomon. His mother, Tova Solomon, was seriously injured.
From that evening, instead of celebrating the birth of our son, we are mourning our murdered family, instead of the happiness that comes with the birth of our son,
from that evening, we walk like dead.
My husband Shmuel did not return to work, he experienced tantrums, anger, and crying.
I also cry a lot, but I have to be strong to take care of my son, it’s obvious but also be strong for my husband and for myself.
We celebrated the Brit Milah of our son during the shiv’ah (seven days of mourning after the death of a family member) of his grandfather and his two uncles.
At home with the laughter of a baby we hear his father crying, a father grieving for his father and two brothers, a father who can not be happy with his son, a father who looks at his son and is broken when he remembers that his father and brothers were still alive when he was born but never got to see him. The baby from its first day lived in the shadow of grief and bereavement.
We are afraid to bring more children into this cruel world, this is the experience from the birth of our children. They took away our happiness, our joy.
The concern for tomorrow does not give me rest. Thoughts about our mental and economic situation do not let go. What I am going through at home can not be described in the most painful words.
Every day, every hour, every minute, these are our lives. I want the court to see to it that the murderer no longer sees the light of the sun in his life, and I also ask the judges to impose a monetary penalty on him that will give expression to the terrible result.”

I have re-read your words many times, and it is for this reason I am reaching out to you.
On Motzaei Shabbat, July 22, 2017, as we turned our phones on after Shabbat, we learned of the horrific slaughter of your family members. While you and your family were devastated, the People of Israel mourned at your side. While there have been many terror attacks over the years, this one had an added dimension of sadness. You had just been celebrating the birth of your son. And on the background of this joyous occasion, you would have to have the Brit Milah for your newborn son, DURING Shiva!

When I saw the news and heard about the Brit, I decided to go and share in the joyous (tainted joy, but joyous) event of the Brit of you new son. I stood shoulder to shoulder with MANY others who did not know you or your family a few days prior. We held our breath as the avelim entered the hall. We cried when the baby received the name of his grandfather. A horrible mix of emotions for those present, and I won’t even pretend to know what you were feeling.

As is true with many terror attacks, life moves on for those who were not directly affected, while those whose families were ripped apart continue with the pain and try to pick up the pieces.

When I read your post, my heart melted and it touched me very deeply. מי כעמך ישראל !? We have never met, yet I wished I could have sat next to you after you penned the above words to tell you on behalf of myself and thousands of others: We support you, we love you as part of our extended family of the Jewish People, and we truly still feel your pain. The one who murdered your family deserves the death penalty. While it will not bring back your loved ones, it will be a minor source of comfort to know that he who took your relatives’ lives will no longer be free to live on this Earth. Perhaps one of the saddest statements you made in your post was “We are afraid to bring more children into this cruel world….” Your pain must be indescribable; your sadness, relentless. I imagine your desire for “revenge” must be afire inside your very essence.

Please do not misinterpret this, as it is merely a humble thought/suggestion. Perhaps the greatest revenge that Holocaust survivors were able to bring about after the war was to bring more children into the world. Their lives, as yours, was turned upside down and destroyed in the most cruel of ways. Your life, as was theirs, was dark, bleak and hopeless in so many cases. Yet, what Hitler (y”sh) wanted to do was to end the Jewish race, and every single Jewish baby born from the descendants of survivors is another victory for the spirit of the Jewish people and revenge against Hitler. We face modern day Hitlers on a daily basis.  No one knows that better than you and your dear family.

But, before you make a decision to avoid bringing more children into this world, please consider what I wrote here.

(And while there are obviously financial considerations as well, I am pleased to see that there is a fund set up to assist you and the family.

Chen and Shmuel Solomon
Mizrahi Bank
Branch 431
Account 183042)

Do know that while you may not hear it or see it physically, עם ישראל stands at your side and is supporting you. I pray that in the event you decide to bring more children into this world that thousands of people will join you in celebrating that birth, b’ezrat Hashem. I for one will be there with Hashem’s help to wish you mazal tov in person.

I thank you for taking the time to read this. I pray that Hashem gives you and your entire family the strength to carry on and get stronger every single day.

With love and admiration,

Zev Shandalov

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