NEW YORK – More than 800 students from Los Angeles-area Jewish day schools took part in a public assembly in memory of three Jews from Los Angeles who were murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists in Israel.
The assembly, which was held in West Los Angeles on April 16, 2002, was organized by Ms. Ayelet Fischer, a senior at the girls division of the Yeshiva University of Los Angeles High School who is active in the Greater Los Angeles District of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).
Those participating in the program included Yeshiva University of Los Angeles High School (both the boys school and the girls school); Shalhevet Day School; the Maimonides School; the West Valley Hebrew Day School; the Hillel Harkham Academy; and the Emek Day School. April 16 was chosen for the event because it was Yom HaZikaron, the day traditionally reserved on the Jewish calendar to honor those killed by enemies of Israel or the Jewish people.
The memorial assembly focused on three U.S. citizens from Los Angeles who were murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists: Mrs. Shoshana Greenbaum, a schoolteacher from Los Angeles who was killed in the Sbarro Pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem last year; 14 year-old Yael Botwin, who grew up in the L.A. suburb of Claremont, and was killed in a 1997 bombing in Jerusalem; and 19 year-old Yitzhak Weinstock grandson of Rabbi Simon Dolgin, once one of the most prominent rabbis in Los Angeles who was killed in a drive-by shooting near Jerusalem in 1993.
Shoshana Greenbaums father, Alan Hayman, was one of the featured speakers at the assembly. He spoke in deeply moving terms about his daughters life and her work as a much-beloved teacher in Los Angeles and elsewhere. Ms. Eva Yellows read aloud an essay by Hana Sastiel, a student of Mrs. Greenbaums.
The students recited Psalms; lit memorial candles, and launched a mass letter-writing campaign to Members of Congress to become co-sponsors of the Koby Mandell Act, which would create a special office in the Justice Department to pursue Palestinian Arab killers of Americans and assist the families of the victims.
A total of 29 U.S. citizens have been murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists in Israel since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993, 17 of them in the violence that began in September 2000.
The memorial assembly received widespread media attention. Among those in attendance were correspondents for the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, and five Los Angeles-area television stations (local affiliates of CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, and K-Cal 5).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: Ayelet Fischer and her fellow-students deserve the highest praise for their inspiring activism in pursuit of justice for Americans murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists. Ms. Fischer has set an example that every young Jew should emulate, and we urge Jewish schools around the country to look to the Los Angeles assembly as a model for their own programs focusing on this important issue.