Jewish Journal

Jewish community responds to death of kidnapped Israeli teens

Jewish Journal

Posted on Jun. 30, 2014 at 12:41 pm

<em>Israelis gather in the town of Elad on June 30, outside the home of Eyal Yifrah, one of three teenagers who was abducted. Photo by Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters</em>

Israelis gather in the town of Elad on June 30, outside the home of Eyal Yifrah, one of three teenagers who was abducted. Photo by Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters

New Community Jewish High School

Dear Friends,

The Board of Trustees, Faculty, and entire NCJHS Community join with the Jewish people around the world in profound sorrow as we mourn the loss of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach.

As a Jewish High School, the murders of these teenagers are felt with particular resonance. Life has taken on a precariousness and a preciousness as our students and their parents join with the world community in mourning their deaths.

We have learned that tomorrow evening, Tuesday, July 1st at 7PM, Beth Jacob Synagogue, the Jewish Federation, the Israeli Consulate, and Lihi Shaar, the Aunt of Gilad Shaar, will be holding a memorial service open to the public.  The address is 9030 W. Olympic Boulevard, Beverly Hills CA, 90211.

In addition, if you would like to send a message of support to the families of Naftali, Gilad and Eyal, click here. 

May God offer comfort and consolation to the families and to the entire Jewish people among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.


Bnei Akiva of Los Angeles's message to L.A. teens

Dear Los Angeles Teens,

At this difficult time for klal yisrael, it is important that we come together as a community. This will enable us to support each other in times of sadness and great need. The beauty and depth of Judaism is most evident in times like this, when being surrounded by a loving-faith community can give us strength and hope and the inner-fortitude necessary to push forward.

Life is full of good moments and difficult ones. Ignoring the difficult ones implies that they are somehow meaningless in God's larger scheme. It's said that there are two questions that can be asked when confronted with a tragedy.  One is lamah, why.  Why did Hashem allow three innocent boys to be kidnapped and killed in such a senseless manner? This question of course can never really be answered with any sort of clarity, especially concerning an event as incomprehensible as this one.  Only Hashem knows the answer. 

The second question is l'mah, to what.  What are we supposed to take from this? What good can come from this? Again, here too it is difficult to answer the question. At the very minimum, three budding Torah scholars were ripped from our arms and it seems fitting to bring more Torah to the world. 

It is minhag yisrael (customary among Jews) to learn torah in memory of those we have lost. In an important show of achdut(unity), the Jewish high schools and youth organizations from across LA are coming together to learn torah in memory of these boys:

  • Naftali Fraenkel z"l - Yaakov Naftali ben Rachel Devorah
  • Gil-Ad Shaar z"l - Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim
  • Eyal Yifrach z"l - Eyal ben Iris Tshura

To make sure that everyone has something they feel comfortable learning, we are trying to make a siyum on all of tanach and shas mishnayot. Please click on the links below to sign up for some portion(s). [Please note, they can be learned in English if needed]

We want to complete these by July 30th. Please commit to finishing by that date.


With our hearts broken, we ask Hashem to watch over the souls of these boys and we pray for an end to this senseless hatred and extremism.

Bnei Akiva of Los Angeles

NCSY of Los Angeles

Shalhevet School

Yeshiva High Tech

YULA Boys School

YULA Girls School

Valley Torah Boys School

Valley Torah Girls School

(list in formation)


AJC Los Angeles: Our hearts are breaking

This is the [message] that we hoped and prayed we would never have to write. "Our Boys" will not be coming home. Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach were brutally murdered by terrorists - according to reports - not long after they were kidnapped.

The people who perpetrated this crime have not been captured, but we know that they are part of a widespread community that has consistently responded to talk of peace and co-existence with missiles and murder. Sadly, this is Israel's reality, but the cost is borne by Israelis and Palestinians alike.

We know that there are some within the Palestinian community and among their supporters, who condemned the initial kidnapping. Some have already spoken out against the subsequent murders of Naftali, Gilad and Eyal. Many others, however, celebrated their abduction and now we fear that they will delight in their murders.

So, we must ask, when will those who profess a desire for peace stand up against those who have only contempt for it? When will those who profess a desire for reconciliation finally and firmly reject appeals to hatred and replace them with genuine measures that will allow for a permanent end to the conflict between Israel and her neighbors and two states living side by side in peace?

Poll after poll shows that Israelis yearn for that day and are prepared to make the sacrifices that could make it possible. But today the Israeli people and their friends around the world are in mourning. Nothing can relieve the pain we all feel and thehorror and sorrow that the Fraenkel, Shaar and Yifrach families must now endure. Yet, if Palestinians and their supporters would finally stand-up to those in their midst who reject co-existence, we might find a small ray of hope in a very sad and dark landscape.

Please click here to read AJC's Press Release on the tragedy.

May the memories of Naftali, Gilad, and Eyal always be for a blessing and may the Almighty comfort their families among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

With Love and a Broken Heart,

Rabbi Mark Diamond
Regional Director 

Dean A. Schramm
Regional President


Rabbi Sharon Brous on the tragedy in Israel

I write tonight from Jerusalem in great anguish, having heard the devastating news that the bodies of Naftali Frankel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah, three Israeli teenagers who had been missing for the past 18 days, were found north of Hebron. They were murdered by terrorists bent on shedding innocent Jewish blood and perpetuating conflict and a culture of terror. There is no justification for the kidnapping and murder of children. This is a heinous and hideous act of aggression, and tonight I grieve as a mother, as a Jew and as a human being.

We all know that pain can remind us how different we are from everyone else – am levadad yishkon – a people that dwells alone, unlike any other in the world. Or it can open us up to other human beings who love and lose and live with broken hearts. I pray tonight, my dear Jewish brothers and sisters, that we not allow our tsaar – our pain over the loss of these young lives – to close off our hearts to the grief that permeates nearly every home in the rubbled landscape of this region. I pray that we turn not to thoughts of vengeance, but to a renewed yearning for an end to the conflict, so that no parent should have to worry again if her son will make it home safely from school.

Zikhronam livrakha – may the memory of Naftali, Gilad and Eyal be a blessing.

– Rabbi Sharon Brous


NCJW expresses sadness, outrage over murdered innocent Israeli youths

NCJW joins in solidarity with victims' families and the Israeli people

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) today expressed profound sadness and outrage at reports that three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped earlier this month have been found dead. NCJW CEO Nancy K. Kaufman released the following statement:

“NCJW is deeply saddened by the tragic news that Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach have been killed. These boys will never return to their parents, never have the opportunity to grow up and create their own families, and never live out their lives in peace or safety. These innocent youths were blameless, and whoever is responsible for their deaths must be brought to justice. We are outraged that these innocent young men have become the latest victims of a continued campaign of terror against Israel and her citizens.

Violence and hatred does not solve problems; it only worsens them, and we must not let the deaths of these young men be in vain. If there is anything to take away from this moment, it should be that all human lives are sacred.

NCJW conveys our deepest sympathies to Gilad, Naftali and Eyal’s families and loved ones, and we stand together with the people of Israel in prayers for peace. May their memories be a blessing.”


The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. NCJW has been a leading organization in support of Israel for more than 60 years, helping to lay the groundwork for important social change efforts there, especially those advancing women’s status by helping women in Israel to develop a stronger voice at all levels of society. For more information, follow NCJW on Facebook and on Twitter at @NCJW and visit us on www.ncjw.org.


Statement from the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles

On behalf of our Los Angeles Jewish community, we join with our brothers and sisters across the Jewish world in mourning the tragic loss of Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach.

We express our deepest condolences to their families and loved ones, and can only begin to imagine their pain and suffering. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the terrorists involved in the senseless murder of three innocent teenagers, and pray that justice will be served. As always, we stand in solidarity with Israel, especially during this difficult time. It is imperative that we do not forget Naftali, Gilad and Eyal. May their memories always be a blessing.

Tomorrow night (Tuesday, July 1st) at 7pm, Beth Jacob is holding a memorial service that is open to the public and being planned in partnership with our Federation, the Israeli Consulate and Lihi Shaar, aunt of Gilad Shaar, who is a member of the congregation. The address is 9030 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills, 90211.  The entire community is invited to attend.

Additionally, we encourage you to send a message of support to the families of Naftali, Gilad and Eyal. Click here to a page created by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). All the messages will be shared with the families.

Any additional information about communal observances will be posted on our website at www.JewishLA.org.


Leslie E. Bider                                   Jay Sanderson
Chairman of the Board                    President & CEO


Statement from the Israeli American Council

The Israeli American Council shares in the senseless loss and the grief of the families of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel, and Eyal Yifrach.  The entire Israeli-American community mourns their devastating murders and joins together with the people of Israel, the Jewish community and the worldwide community in grieving these victims of terror.  May their memories forever be a blessing.


Reform Jewish Movement mourns the deaths of three murdered Israeli teens

In response to the news that the bodies of three missing Israeli teens, Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach, have been found, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

The hearts of our entire people are broken with the discovery of the murdered bodies of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach. Since the day they were kidnapped we prayed and hoped against hope that this day would not come. Shaken and filled with sadness, we feel deeply connected to our aching people all over the world as we send our love and strength to the three bereft families.

The callous slaughter of these three innocent teens sends shudders through the conscience of all feeling people. May the boys' unfinished lives be remembered for a blessing and may their memories inspire us as we pray, and work, for the peace of Jerusalem.


StandWithUs: Eyal, Naftali and Gilad: We Will Never Forget You

Our hearts are breaking at the horrific news of the murder of the three Israeli teenagers: Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaer.

Israelis, Jews and people of goodwill around the world were consumed with worry following the cruel and cowardly kidnapping of the teens. 

The news of their brutal murder is painful to absorb.

As we stood with and embraced the families following the kidnapping, we stand with them today, sharing their grief and wishing them strength at this tragic time.

This sad news reminds us that terrorists continue to act with impunity under Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. It reminds us that Hamas is a terrorist organization and has no place in any serious leadership or negotiating position. We see a clear link between the horrific acts of violence by Jihadists in Iraq and Syria and the acts of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian terror groups. 

Hate education against Jews and Israelis continues unabated in the Palestinian Authority, Gaza and many other Arab countries. The result is bigotry, violence and murder. The institutionalized incitement against Jews and Israel permeates education, the media, mosques and other social institutions, directed and supported by the Palestinian leadership. This 'education' produced the stomach-turning images of some Palestinians celebrating the boys' abduction. This "education” resulted in the murder of our thee innocent boys.  

The world has been united in keeping the boys and their families uppermost in our thoughts and prayers, and will continue to do so now.

We pray for the strength that the families and our greater community will need to cope with this tragedy.

International pressure must be placed on the Palestinian Authority to stop the ongoing incitement to bigotry, hatred and violence.  The Palestinian leadership, both Abbas and Hamas, must finally be held accountable for their actions. EU and American funding of the PA should be tied to that accountability.  

We continue to support Israel's security procedures that protect its citizens from acts of terror like this.

We join all of Israel, and good people around the world, in mourning Eyal, Naftali and Gilad.

May their memories be a blessing to all people of goodwill.

May God comfort the family among all the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem

The StandWithUs Staff and Board of Directors

StandWithUs is a thirteen year-old international, non-profit Israel education organization with chapters throughout the U.S., in Israel, Canada and the UK.  www.standwithus.com


From Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA):

“I am deeply saddened by the death of the three Israeli teens, one of whom was also an American citizen. There is substantial evidence that this murder is the responsibility of Hamas.  We must bring to justice, not only the murderers, but their commanders. Earlier this month, I attended a press conference with my colleagues on the Foreign Affairs Committee calling for the safe release of these boys.  We met with family of Israeli-American teen Naftali Frenkel.  My deepest sympathies go out to the all the families and loved ones of the three boys.”


Rabbinical Assembly saddened and angered by the death of Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frankel, Gilad Shaar

In reaction to the confirmed deaths of three kidnapped Israeli students, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frankel the Rabbinical Assembly issued the following statement.

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice President, said:

Since the disappearance of Eyal, Gil-ad, and Naftali on June 12, we have joined in solidarity with the entire Jewish people to pray for their safe return. Now we join together in grief to recall the lives of three young men with promising futures that were snatched away by an act of violence and hatred. We offer comfort and condolences to their families. We also thank the Israeli government and security forces for their unceasing efforts to locate the boys, as well as the various international officials, including President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. We call upon President Abbas to follow through on his condemnation of the kidnapping by doing everything within his power to ensure that such acts of terrorism do not happen again. Those same governments must now help ensure that the perpetrators of this outrageous crime are brought to justice and that the physical security of Israeli citizens is assured in all considerations.

Rabbi William Gershon, President, added:

We offer our heartfelt condolences to the Yifrach, Shaar, and Frankel families who are grieving the loss of their children. We pray that in the words of Psalm 147, God will heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds. We hope that the terrorists responsible for this reprehensible and cowardly act of terror against innocent young people will soon be brought to justice Let us all strive as a Jewish people to carry forward the ideals of Torah to which Eyal, Gil-ad and Naftali devoted their young lives. Yehi zikhram baruch. May their memories be a blessing.


The Rabbinical Assembly is the international association of Conservative rabbis. Since its founding in 1901, the Assembly has been the creative force shaping the ideology, programs, and practices of the Conservative Movement, and is committed to building and strengthening the totality of Jewish life. Rabbis of the Assembly serve congregations throughout the world, and also work as educators, officers of communal service organizations, and college, hospital, and military chaplains. More information is available at www.rabbinicalassembly.org.


JCPA heartbroken by murdered Israeli teens

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs expressed profound sorrow and extended condolences to the families of three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped two weeks ago, murdered, and whose bodies were discovered today.

“This is the saddest possible news for the families of these young boys, Israelis, and all of us around the world who have been praying for their safe return since they disappeared two weeks ago,” said JCPA Chair Susan W. Turnbull. “We extend our condolences to the families for their unspeakable pain. Nothing can undo the tragedy of their murders.”

“All of us today are mourning for Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel,” said JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow. “They were just boys. They had their futures inhumanely robbed from them. We are torn to pieces with sadness. Our grief is matched by a resolve to support the effort to find those whose are responsible and expeditiously bring them to justice.”

JCPA, the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community, serves as the national coordinating and advisory body for the 14 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of Jewish community relations.


Jewish National Fund: We remember Naftali, Gilad and Eyal

This afternoon the world learned of the killings of the three teenagers in Israel, Naftali Frenkel, 16, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19. Our prayers and thoughts go out to their families and to all who knew and loved them.

In a way, their loss is one that we all share. Each of us came to know Naftali, Gilad and Eyal in the last two weeks through the global campaign #BringBackOurBoys. Their story and captivity brought people together from many backgrounds and nations to support their release. It was indeed an unprecedented display of emotion and community not seen in some time.

However, the fact remains that these young men were abducted and struck down for no reason. They were not soldiers but Jewish students who loved Israel, desired to learn Torah, and had their entire lives before them.

In tribute to their lasting memory, Jewish National Fund will create gardens to honor Naftali z"l, Gilad z"l and Eyal z"l.

In the meantime, we will honor the customs of our forefathers and grieve with the families who have lost so much. Our prayers are with them all.

May the families be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Yerushalayim.

May the families know no more sorrow.

Jeffrey E. Levine
President, Jewish National Fund

Russell F. Robinson
CEO, Jewish National Fund

Tracker Pixel for Entry


View our privacy policy and terms of service.