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The Chabad.org Blog

Message Regarding Chabad of Poway Shooting

April 28, 2019 11:33 PM

By the Grace of G‑d

Dear Friend,

Our hearts are shattered by the cold-blooded attack on our brothers and sisters—Jews of all walks of life gathered yesterday at Chabad-Lubavitch of Poway in celebration and prayer to the Almighty on Shabbat and the final day of Passover.

While commemorating the Jewish people’s miraculous liberation from bondage and persecution more than 3,300 years ago, and preparing to remember their departed loved ones at the Yizkor service, these beautiful people were heinously attacked for no reason other than the fact that they were Jewish.

We offer our immense gratitude to G‑d that the full scope of the perpetrator’s evil intent to commit mass murder was miraculously unrealized when his rifle inexplicably jammed, though tragically not before snuffing out the life of a most beautiful human being and injuring others.

Indeed, we mourn the holy soul of community trailblazer and activist Lori Gilbert-Kaye—Leah bat Reuven—who was so cruelly torn from our midst, and pray that G‑d provide strength to her family and that they find solace in the many people she touched and the myriad activities she set in motion. The fruits of the immense good she planted on this earth will forever serve as extensions of her very life.

We pray for the healing of all the injured, including Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein—Yisroel ben Chana Priva—who lost his index finger while being shot at from almost point-blank range and yet instantly ran to protect the children; 8-year-old Noya bat Eden (Dahan) and her uncle, Almog ben Ruti (Peretz) visiting from Sderot, Israel, and no stranger to terrorist attacks.

We pray for the healing and comfort of their families, the entire Poway community, the Jewish people worldwide, and the entire world community—men, women and children of every type, each created in the image of the benevolent G‑d whose hearts ache from senseless tragedies like these.

The fact that these G‑dless acts have multiplied of late underscores with even greater urgency the critical need for proper moral education for our youth, rooted in the belief in a Supreme Being—Whose Eye that Sees and Ear that Hears should preclude anyone from devaluing the life of another human being.

Indeed, we are grateful to live in a country that is predicated on these values and thus protects our right to live openly and proudly as Jews, and we value immensely the friendship and outpouring of support from so many of our fellow Americans.

We are particularly grateful to those whose brave stand against the shooter saved additional lives, including the city’s police department and all levels of government from the municipality on upward who have been working selflessly to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the Jewish community in Poway and around the country.

At the onset of the Passover holiday only one week ago, at familial and communal seders held worldwide (including those conducted by thousands of Chabad-Lubavitch institutions across the globe), millions of Jews proclaimed that “[though] in every generation they rise to destroy us… the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand,” due to the unbreakable bond of His everlasting covenant with the Jewish people.

In light of this covenant, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, taught that we may not hide or cower even in the face of pure evil. To the contrary, we must drive it away.


Cold-blooded, fanatical, baseless, relentless hatred can be uprooted from its core only by saturating our world with pure, undiscriminating, uninhibited, unyielding love and acts of kindness, and by teaching that to all our children, in our schools and our homes.

Today more than ever, the Rebbe taught, we must spread love and unity; positivity and light. We must fulfill our covenant to spread the light of G‑d, to act upon the urgent responsibility we all share to recognize and nurture within each other the loving handiwork of the Creator of all things.

Even as we grieve and mourn, we must increase exponentially our acts of goodness and kindness.

As Jews it surely behooves us also to increase our adherence to our special mitzvot, like donning tefillin (for men) and lighting Shabbat candles (for women), and to help others do the same. While performing our increased mitzvot let us keep in mind that in so doing we are extending the life of Leah bat Reuven.

Apropos to the stirring prophecy read by the Jews gathered at Chabad-Lubavitch of Poway yesterday, along with their brethren around the world, may we finally merit to the time when the evils of war, hate and jealousy will be eradicated forever, when the world will instead be filled with the knowledge of G‑d, with the coming of our righteous Moshiach speedily in our days.

With deep pain, endless love and fierce determination,


The Chabad.org Team


Welcome Home, Zachary Baumel

April 9, 2019 1:42 PM

Wednesday morning.

I go on Facebook and read the following story, shared by a friend:

“[When I was young and lived in Israel] I used to work at a social hall. In 1982, a father and a daughter came to the office to book the hall for her wedding. All of a sudden, while discussing the details of the wedding, the father started crying.

“I was very perplexed and not sure what was going on. Isn’t a wedding a happy occasion? But through his tears, the father, Yonah Baumel, told me that his son was missing in action and he was not sure if he would be found alive… and if not, they might need to sit shivah and postpone the wedding.

“I will never forget this” she concluded.

It was a powerful story, but I didn’t understand why she chose to share it that morning.

You see, almost every Israeli knows the name Zechariah (Zachary) Baumel. Unlike the US that has tens of thousands of MIA soldiers, Israel has just a few soldiers that never got back from the battle. We all knew their names, their pictures, their stories.

One of those soldiers missing in action was Zechariah Baumel. He was a tank commander during the first Lebanon war. In his last letter to his parents, he wrote: “don’t worry, everything is fine, but it looks like I won’t be home soon”.

He didn’t come back for 37 years.

For years, his father Yonah traveled around the world and met with world leaders to look for his son. Sadly, in 2009 Yonah passed away, without ever discovering the fate of his son.

So why was this post on Wednesday morning about the Zechariah Baumel?

Soon enough I found out.

It was an emotional day for the Jewish people. Zechariah came back home, to his final resting place. Through a 3rd party country, his remains were found.

He made his last journey back home on board an El Al airplane.

In a special speech to the nation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared the news. “Next to his body, his jumpsuit and Tzitzit were found”, he said, choking back his tears.


The Tzitzit are a symbol of Jewish pride. When Zechariah went to battle, he was proud of who he was. He was proud to be Jewish, proud to protect his country, and was willing to risk his life for the safety of his brothers and sisters.

His Tzitzit remained with him all of those years. And they were buried with him for eternal rest.

Zechariah, you are our hero. You will forever be in our heart, and your Jewish pride will always be an inspiration to us.

May you rest in peace, amen.

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