Elan Ganeles, a 27-year-old native of West Hartford, Conn., former sergeant in the Israeli Defense Forces and graduate of Columbia University succumbed Monday night to wounds sustained in a shooting attack in Israel earlier in the day. Ganeles was shot on Monday afternoon while he was sitting in his car near Beit HaArava junction with videos showing a car with multiple gunmen driving up the junction and firing blindly at oncoming cars. His killers remain at large.

Ganeles was taken from the scene to Hadassah Medical Center, where efforts were made to resuscitate him. Rabbi Yosef Gopin, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Greater Hartford, announced the death to the community in an email on Monday night saying: “We are shocked and heartbroken by the latest news of the tragic event. Such a young life was taken by cold-blooded murderers. Our heart goes out to the Ganeles family and the entire community. Elan grew up in West Hartford, attending Hebrew Academy, Hebrew High School and the Young Israel of West Hartford. For many years, he was a camper at Camp Gan Israel. May G‑d comfort the family and bless our community with strength and unity.”

Rabbi Shimshon Nadel of Jerusalem remembered Ganeles from his days in New Haven as “a sweet boy with a great sense of humor. He played the saxophone, and we would ‘jam’ together in the shul’s sukkah, during Hallel on Chanukah and musical Havdalahs. Heartbreaking.”

Elan graduated high school in 2014, and after intending to travel to Israel for a year-long spiritual journey, he instead extended his stay and enlisted in the IDF, serving until August 2018. In late 2018, he returned to the United States to attend Columbia University, where he graduated in 2022​​ with a bachelor’s degree in sustainable development and neuroscience.

According to Rabbi Yehuda Drizin, director of Chabad at Columbia University, Elan “was a very genuine guy, a committed Jew. He was very involved with the local Hillel chapter, studied hard and was a passionate man with strong friendships.”

Drizin, who met Elan in 2019 and studied Torah with him, echoed the sentiments of grieving world Jewry: “Everyone’s in shock; it’s really painful, it really hurts, he was a great friend, and he will be sorely missed.”

The attack came only a day after two brothers, Hillel and Yagel Yaniv, were shot dead in their car in Samaria.

Ganeles is survived by his parents, Andrew and Carolyn, both physicians in West Hartford; and two younger brothers, Simon and Gabriel.

The funeral took place on Wednesday, March 1, in Israel. The Ganeles family returned to West Hartford to complete shiva in their home.