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Sunday, November 4, 2007


Yes, last night I was at a funeral, one of those midnight ones, very common in Israel, where the dead aren't expected to wait for the living to get themselves "together" or the labor union to agree to dig the graves.

The funeral started on time. I was a few minutes late, and hundreds or thousands were already in the plaza and parking lot of Shiloh's Mishkan Tabernacle Synagogue. The rabbi of the Eidot Mizrach North African Synagogue was eulogizing Zacharia Gi'at, Z"L.
"You were always the first to arrive to pray. You were never

How foolish and thoughtless of me to have taken my time to get organized and walk down the hill. It was midnight, and I had taken a late nap in the livingroom, since midnight is the time I'm always asleep.

We had known Zacharia over a decade before we moved to Shiloh. He was part of the Nachal Moriah of the Old City, Jerusalem. Our first year in Israel, 37 years ago, we lived in the Maon Betar in the Old City. Nobody referred to the neighborhood as the "Rova Yehudi" at the time. It wasn't much of a neighborhood. Jewish families and institutions were spread around, rather isolated, where many Jews had lived before the pre-State Arab terrorism and the Jordanian invaders banished them.

Nachal Moriah, along with Yeshivat HaKotel, were among the first Jewish institutions in the Old City of Jerusalem after its liberation in 1967. Nachal Moriah had a synagogue, which I was first introduced to by the late, legendary tour guide, Aaron Bier and his wife. I was their guest for a Rosh Hashannah meal when I was here as a student, and they took me there. Less than a year later, my husband and I docked in Haifa Port as new immigrants and moved to the Old City. Our one Jewish neighbor, Harav Moshe Segel dovened in Nachal Moriah and so we did too. That's where we first met Zacharia, Z"L.

Ten years later, living in Bayit V'Gan, Jerusalem, we decided that Shiloh was the yishuv for us, and we were pleasantly surprised to discover that Zacharia lived here, too, with his wife, Mazal, and their growing family.

Zacharia worked as a furniture maker/carpenter and also drove, providing taxi service. He was one of those who established the Eidot Mizrach Synagogue. He took great pride in everything there and constructed a lot of the furnishings. Zacharia kept it all in perfect repair.

Baruch Dayan Ha'Emet
HaMakom Y'nachem...

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