Over Rosh Hashana, Sha'alvim for Women had the tremendous zechut to hear a sicha from Mrs. Racheli Frenkel.
Mrs. Frenkel is the mother of Naftali Frenkel who, together with Eyal Yifrah and Gilad Shaar, was kidnapped and murdered last summer.
Racheli Frenkel introduced her talk with SFW students in only a few brief minutes... and then she opened up the floor and answered any and every question that was posed. No question was off-limits or too personal. We sat spell-bound as questions were asked and answers were offered comfortably and sincerely.
For example, she was asked about her belief in Hashem after the tragedy and about how, if at all, her Rosh Hashanah davening was changed because of the events last summer. She spoke
openly and emotionally about how her other children handled the news of Naftali's capture and then again when they heard of his death. We heard about the beautiful relationship that her family has formed - and continues to this day - with the other two families. Racheli also spoke about the army's role during the 18-day search for the children and the "Tzaddik Gamur" (her words) from the IDF who was also a completely non-observant Jew who worked with her day and night as a therapist and guide. She also spoke painfully and proudly about who Naftali was and she discussed how strongly she felt after the displays of achdut and togetherness that were displayed last summer by the Jewish people. More questions were asked as well but, lastly, she expressed intense hope that that "teamwork spirit" that became Klal Yisrael not die down. This, she felt, is the true memorial to the boys.
We were moved, on the one hand, by the tragic stories that she told. Yet we were also mesmerized by her unshakable emunah and grace. Rather than complain and express theological or political bitterness, Mrs. Frenkel became a role-model for us of the simcha and the joy that she experiences living in Israel and being part of Klal Yisrael.
We thank her from the bottom of our hearts for taking the time out of her chag to transform us over this beautiful Rosh Hashanah.