Peter Schwartz, uncle of Ezra Schwartz, a”h, and a Frisch parent, spoke to Frisch’s entire student body today about his nephew’s life, his character and his “quiet acts of chessed, every single day,” on Ezra’s shloshim. After Ezra was murdered by terrorists in Israel, 40 yeshiva high schools committed to making a siyum mishnayot in Ezra’s memory. Peter’s talk to Frisch students preceded the live international telecast memorial and siyum event on Monday, December 21st.
Peter spoke about the incredible display of unity by the global Jewish community in the wake of Ezra’s murder, and the comfort Ezra’s family has derived from the countless acts of kindness by people around the world.
“It’s an amazing community in which we live, and so many people have found constructive ways to honor Ezra, whether it be learning Torah, helping others, or donating tzedaka to various causes,” said Peter. “There are a lot of ways that people can react to a tragedy such as this, but it’s a testament to our community that we have remained focused on such a positive response.”
After Peter implored students to continue to commit themselves to acts of chessed and tikkun olam – and not let themselves be overcome with hate – students joined the live webcast, which was screened to people all over the world. The memorial was moderated by Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky, Rosh Yeshiva of HALB and Menahel at DRS Yeshiva High School on Long Island. After he spoke, he was followed by Rabbi Gotch Yudin, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Ahsreinu, the school in Israel in which Ezra was studying. Rabbi Yudin was visibly emotional as he recounted Ezra’s shining personality, friendly nature and his love of chessed.
Rabbi Yudin was followed by inspiring words of comfort and inspiration by Rabbanit Chana Henkin, who lost her son and daughter-in-law, Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin, in a terrorist attack in Israel a few months earlier, and by Rabbi Efrem Goldberg of Boca Raton Synagogue. Ezra’s mother, Ruth Schwartz, thanked everyone for the countless acts of chessed bestowed upon her family, including this international learning project to pay tribute to her son’s legacy.
Renowned musician Eitan Katz led students and everyone else participating in the webcast in kumzits-style singing.
Frisch students left the event motivated by the ways in which they could help others and perpetuate the legacy of Ezra’s kindness. As Peter impressed upon them: “It’s not just the poor and hungry who are people in need – it is often the average people around you who could use a hand or encouragement or friendship. You can honor Ezra’s memory in this way.”
May Ezra’s memory be for a blessing, and may his family and the entire Jewish people know no more sorrow.