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A Chorus for Ezra Schwartz

The Massachusetts native and 22 other victims of terror in Israel will be remembered at the New England Patriots game on Monday night

Jonathan Zalman
November 23, 2015

The day after Sharon, Massachusetts native Ezra Schwartz was killed in the West Bank, the imam of the Islamic Center of New England, Abdul Rahmam Ahmad, wrote the following letter of condolence and solidarity:

Dear Jewish Sisters and Brothers,
It was with great sadness that I learned last night that Ezra Schwarz of Sharon had his life brutally cut short in Israel yesterday. As the Imam of the Islamic Center of New England in Sharon, I write to extend my deepest condolences for your tragic loss. The Islamic community at Sharon has always categorically condemned such violent acts based on our firm belief that Islam enjoins us to be a people who bring peace and harmony to the world. It is in that context that I am personally writing to you now.

While the victims of such a horrific event would evoke my sympathy wherever it occurred, knowing that they are members of our own local community makes the loss all more poignant. I am reminded of the words of Psalm 34:19: “God is close to the brokenhearted, and helps those crushed in spirit.” Although I cannot comprehend your loss, please know that during this time I share in your pain.

I hope that I can serve as a resource and ally for you during this trying time, and that this terrible incident will be a catalyst for bringing our communities together, rather than pulling us apart. Your families will be in my and my family’s hearts, and in our prayers.

Ha’Makom yenachem etchem b’tpch she’ar avlei Tziyon v’Yerushalayim.

Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey issued a statement on Monday, calling Schwartz a “bright and shining light.” Secretary of State and former Massachusetts Senator John Kerry reportedly called Schwartz’s family to express his condolences. (The State Department issued this statement, too.)

Still no word from Barack Obama or Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

On Monday night, the 4-time NFL Champion New England Patriots, will pay tribute to 22 victims of terror in Israel, including Schwartz, who grew up in the town next to Foxboro, where the Patriots play their home games.

A crowd of 1,500 people mourned the loss of Schwartz on Sunday in Sharon.

The day after Schwartz’s death, his body was sent to Ben Gurion airport before it was sent to Boston for burial. Here’s the moving scene from the Israeli airport:

Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.

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