VALERIE BRAHAM eulogizes her husband yesterday..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
“I am crying, but I know you are all crying with me,” said Valerie Braham as she briefly eulogized her husband, Philippe, in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
She wore a coat against the cold winter wind and spoke softly, with many sad sighs between her words.
But her whispered voice, which was picked up by the microphone, could be heard loudly by the thousands of mourners present at the capital’s Har Hamenuhot cemetery.
“I thank all of you for all of this. I would not have believed this,” Braham said. “Philippe, my beloved, you were a perfect person,” she said after she lit a torch next to her husband’s body, which was wrapped in a prayer shawl. “He was the kind of person who thought of others before himself. He was a wonderful husband who lived for his children.”
As she looked toward the sky, she recalled their son, who died three years ago and is also buried in Israel.
“Now he is with my son,” she said.
Braham asked her husband to protect her and his four remaining children.
One by one, a relative of each of the four terrorist victims from Friday’s attack in a Paris kosher supermarket, delivered a few words.
“You went and left us too soon,” said Yohan Cohen’s uncle as he spoke of his nephew’s bravery in attempting to kill the terrorist.
“When you stood face to face with terror you did not hesitate. You courageously defended with your life, those in the store.”
He added that he was grateful that France and Israel had allowed Cohen to be buried in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Benjamin Hattab, the chief rabbi of Tunis and the father of Yoav, said he accepted God’s decree.
Jonathan Saada remembered his father, Francois- Michel, as a generous man who devoted his life to his wife, children and his friends.
The four victims were flown from Paris and were buried in Israel in a state funeral. In his eulogy, President Reuven Rivlin spoke a few personal words about each one.
“Phillipe, you wanted to shop for the Sabbath, and what is more Jewish than preparing, shopping on a Friday, for the holy Sabbath day,” Rivlin said. “What can we say to your dear wife, Philippe? What can we say to your three young children, whose cries of ‘Daddy’ will be met with silence?” The president told the mourners that Saada had already purchased an apartment in Israel in advance of making aliya.
“But you will never now be able to affix a mezuza upon the doorpost of your home in Israel,” said Rivlin.
He recalled Cohen’s bravery in the supermarket.
“Yohan, you could have got away, escaped, you could have run – but you did not surrender,” he said. “You fought with the murderer, to save the life of a three-year-old boy. You succeeded in that, but paid with your life. Just 20 years old, and already a hero.”
About Yoav Hattab, who had just returned to Paris from a Taglit-Birthright trip, he said: “You were here, just two weeks ago in Jerusalem. You stood at the Western Wall, you were photographed wrapped in the Israeli flag. Today, you are here for the second, and the final time. As a Jewish hero, at one with us.”