Ezra Schwartz, 18, was stuck in traffic at the Alon Shvut junction on November 19, 2015, when a terrorist opened fire, killing him and two other people. Two years after the attack, we remember Ezra and what he meant to be people who knew him.
Henna Storch, who is doing her national service at OneFamily, spoke to Liat Dorani, a volunteer who came to OneFamily because of her connection to Ezra. Liat spoke about who he was and how he lived his life.
Liat was still in high school when Ezra died, “when I heard that Ezra had been killed in a terror attack, I was devastated. I cried and cried. I didn’t understand how this could happen, he was just a boy.”
But when she speaks about his death, Liat doesn’t just speak about her grief, she also speaks about how it’s important to move forward. “It’s so easy to think of it as a tragedy, but it’s so important to think of it as more than that, to be able to tell his story and learn from who he was.”
When Ezra was there, he had a smile that would make everything better, relates Liat. “When you grow up in a small Jewish community, you get to know other people who also grew up in similar small Jewish communities,” she said
“It was impossible not to know Ezra. He would hang out with us whenever I would visit my friends in Sharon, and he would always be there, cracking jokes and making me laugh.
“He had the best laugh; he would laugh at all my jokes, even if they weren’t funny. He would always want to make everyone feel good.”
When she came to Israel to visit she went to visit some friends from Ashreinu, where Ezra Schwartz had been studying. “We went out for pizza as a group, and Ezra came with us, I remember him spilling soda on me, he felt so bad, he ran to get napkins to clean me up, and the whole time he kept laughing with me. I could have been thinking about how sticky and uncomfortable I was, but all I could think about was how lucky I was to have a friend like this.”
This year Liat is studying at Aardvark, a gap year program for students located in Jerusalem that combines volunteering and learning about Judaism. She chose to volunteer at OneFamily because of her connection to Ezra and Michael Levin – A lone soldier who was killed in the second Lebanon war.
One project that Liat is heavily involved with is the memorial room project, a project to commemorate every person who has been lost to terror in Israel since the start of the Second Intifada. “Ezra would light up any room he walked into; two years ago we lost that. It’s so important to his story, and the story of all those who have been lost to terror. Ezra may have died on that day, but it’s up to all of us to make sure that his light doesn’t go out, and that we remember his story.”