Ode to Family Dee - a poem

A poem written for the Dee family, who lost mother Lucy and daughters Maia and Rina to a terrorist attack.

 A memorial image made for Lucy, Rina and Maia Dee. (photo credit: Courtesy the Dee family)
A memorial image made for Lucy, Rina and Maia Dee.
(photo credit: Courtesy the Dee family)

“Stand up! Stand up, children, and sing!

Today we have a country of our own.

Medinat Yisrael is born. 

Stand up! Stand up, children, and sing

The Hatikvah!”

 ONE OF several signs of support for the Dee family created by neighbor Ashira Landau. (credit: ASHIRA LANDAU) ONE OF several signs of support for the Dee family created by neighbor Ashira Landau. (credit: ASHIRA LANDAU)

There and then, no matter when,

There and then I said, right then

“I would stand up. I would go!

I would stand up and go

To Medinat Yisrael.”

My mother said, “Too dangerous,

With your three sons courageous.

Why not Manchester, a religious kehilla?”

Then terrorists blew up Manchester’s town center.

“Mother,” I said, “My husband agrees that

We must stand up for our Land, and go!”

Leo Dee, Rabbi, brilliant raconteur,

Indeed said, “Yes! We will stand up and go!”

Dear wife Lucy, mother of five, concurred, 

“It’s the place, for our kids;

We’ll stand up, and go!”

They left London’s cozy comforts

Work and schools and warm encounters.

“It’s Medinat Yisrael’s 

Values we respect and want,  

It’s for those we stand. Let’s go!”

They settled in Efrat nine years ago.

Palestinians nearby worked on their home

When day was done, they’d all sit and chat,

Not a worry in the world. Trust completely. 

Decent folk, mostly, Leo said recently.

Bitter truth exploded onto our Leo - 

Daughters Maia, Rina murdered. 

Kalashnikovs fired.

“What shall I tell Lucy?” 

Burst forth from our hero.

Tore our guts. It’s our family.

Leo implored, “How do I tell her now? 

How now shall I say, ‘Stand up and let’s go?’

My Lucy Leah, oh, dear heart, 

You too are now gone. 

To bullets brutal 

You too did succumb.

Shall I stand up! Stand up and scream? 

Can I still say, No matter what?

Yes! No matter what, your organs saved five

For an Arab too – You would have approved – 

Who now with dignity can better live.”

Said dear son, Yehuda, “Yet more light was spread. 

Imma’s corneas gave life to two others’ eyes,

Benefiting seven, like we all once were.”

Celina Biniaz, Holocaust survivor, 

Interviewed by Israeli star Gal Gadot          

Told the many youngsters who listened agog 

Gathered together in Zikaron BaSalon, 

“Memories shared here, before we are gone,  

Must tell you my creed, it will not take long… 

Life is like you said in ‘Wonder Woman’   

Only love can save the world!   

Believe in people’s power to do good.”   

Of one thing we’re sure, we’ve oft heard it said    

Around Hashem’s throne are many seatings  

For those promoting Heavenly ratings;   

Now Maia, Rina and Lucy, to spread    

Leo Dee’s dream, just “To do what is right,” 

Take care to “make it a popular trend.” 

D-Day – Code name for the military operation

That marked the beginning of the Allied liberation 

of German occupied France in the Second World War

Was adopted by Leo. He counsels, “It’s Dee’s Day!” 

Terror’s always Evil, Immoral. Inscribe,

And with Lucy’s Marmite, tea and scones, imbibe.

The blessings we have of our great four,

Does our tragic loss overpower.

Stand up, let’s all go, our flags to unfurl.

Lest we forget. Forget to remember. 

Leo Dee said, “My beautiful perfect Maia, 

We named you ‘God’s water.’” 

Yes. This Passover, passed over like no other. 

So many people were you befriending 

Between so many groups you were flowing 

You always were an angel –

Now you’re forever our guardian angel. 

Like Matriarch Sara of the Bible, 

You arrived, left, returned 

Yes! To our Promised Land. 

And are buried as ‘doubles’ 

alongside your sister Rina, 

“Rina, who dreamed of ‘traveling the world’  

– you’re now traveling to heaven.” 

In response to the tragedy

His Excellency, Lord Ahmad of Great Britain

Fasting for Ramadan, said: “Without the foundation of Judaism 

There would not be the walls of Christianity,

And without the walls of Christianity there would not be the roof of Islam. 

And ultimately, we come together in the house of God.”

Mother dear, 

Although you’re long gone

To the place from where you shine upon... 

I know you’ll somehow lend a hand

To make these beautiful women

Feel welcome in their new abode.  

Open to them gates of righteousness

From where they will all praise the Lord 

And ensure Leo’s pleas will reverberate

Around the world with his message ultimate –

“We will never accept terror as legitimate. 

We will never blame the murder on the victims. 

There is no such thing as moral equivalence 

Between terrorist and victim. 

The terrorist is always bad.”  ■