Thousands of leaders and youth from Jewish communities across the world marked Israel's Remembrance Day in a ceremony of the Center for Religious Affairs in the Diaspora at the World Zionist Organization (WZO) in Jerusalem.
The ceremony was opened by Rabbi Leo Dee, who has lost his wife Lucy and his two daughters Maia and Rina in a brutal shooting attack this past Passover. Dee shared with the audience about his family's loss, "a few weeks ago I lost my wife Lucy and my two daughters Maia and Rina," he said emotionally.
"The name of each one of them represents something important in our world. Lucy's name means light, we live in a dark world that needs a lot of light and she is the one who chose to go to Israel to a better place."
"The name of each one of them represents something important in our world."Rabbi Leo Dee
What did Rabbi Leo Dee say about his daughters?
About his daughters, he said: "Maia means water likened to the Torah. We named her God's water, which refers to Torah. She was a Torah scholar, she could relate Torah topics to real life and derive amazing meaning. One of the key topics in Torah is relationships. We know that all that matters in life is relationships. The important relationships are with our children, parents, friends or siblings." He said that "Yet when we're given the opportunity to earn an extra $10 an hour, we sacrifice time with loved ones and very soon we find they may have made other plans." Dee said that Maia "was the one who taught all my kids to call the grandparents every Friday."
Dee shared about his daughter Rina, that her name means "the happiness you have from looking forward to a brighter future. It's the singing in the shower when you fall in love or have a job offer for something you really want to do. And this is another quality so lacking in a world. There is not enough idealism."
He explained that "people say that millennials are idealists, but they're really just self-occupied. Rina taught us that if you want to build something like a new branch of Ezra, the youth group in the Tamar neighborhood in Efrat, you have to work hard for it and take responsibility. And she did. She was the one who organized the team. She was the one who cleaned the clubhouse, actually a carpark without walls. She was the one who invited 20 of her campers for a sleepover in our home just three weeks ago. And all of them are devastated. Because how do you replace a Rina? Rina taught us if you want to do something with someone do it now. I can tell you from my current perspective, I'm glad that I listened to her."
The ceremony was led by the WZO and OneFamily, and many dignitaries participated such as WZO chairman Yaakov Hagoel, WZO head of the Center for Religious Affairs in the Diaspora Roi Abecassis, head of the WZO Education Department Gael Greenwald, head of OneFamily Marc Belzberg and others.
Abecassis said that the center that he heads "has taken upon itself the task of conveying the uplifting Memorial Day experience to our Diaspora Jewish brothers who are currently in Israel."