Shachaf is an exceptionally charming young man who has been a resident of ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran for the past 10 years. He arrived at ADI Negev together with our son Eran, who unfortunately passed away one short year later.
This past Thursday Shachaf travelled to the Hof HaTemarim Hotel in Akko to attend the wedding of his brother Koren and fiancée Yarden. Shachaf was accompanied by his devoted caregiver Lillian and her husband Yossi.
I stood next to Shachaf while his brother Edan delivered a touching speech under the chuppa. Erdan’s voice cracked with emotion as he spoke about his brother Shachaf, whose eyes sparkled all the while with excitement and great feeling. There was not a dry eye among those present; all were swept up in a tide of intense emotion and joy.
During the ceremony, Shachaf sat on the podium embraced by his loving grandparents. At one point he turned his face aside in just the same way our own son Eran had done at our daughter’s wedding all those years ago.
Shachaf, Eran, and their friends will never have the privilege of marriage, or of bringing children into the world. They will remain forever children at the mercy of those around them. Particularly at this time of year between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, we confront their vulnerability, their helplessness, their total dependency on those who can choose to help them. Their lives will never be measured by the yardstick of success we use so unthinkingly in our own lives. Rather, their very existence forces us to do some honest soul-searching, to grasp that we must withstand the supreme test of humanity and tolerance at its best. To create a better world of hope and love for all individuals everywhere, no matter the differences which separate us, and which threaten to undermine unconditional acceptance of our fellowman. It is, in essence, the ultimate test of “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
We wish to thank Tzvika and Orit, Shachaf’s parents, for inviting us to their dear children’s wedding. And we thank Shachaf and his friends, who have entrusted us with a very special human compass, pointing the way toward creation of a society of true human kindness.
Shana Tova and a Gmar Chatima Tova to all,
Doron Almog, father of Eran o.b.m.