They are among hundreds of victims of Palestinian terrorism, but there was something about the tragic story of the Bloombergs of Ginot Shimron that prompted Rabbi Moshe Drelich to act.
“You start with one family at a time,” said the rabbi, assistant principal of SAR Academy in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. “You save the world one neshama [soul] at a time.”
Steve Bloomberg and his wife, Tehiya, and three of their five children were returning home from an outing to purchase schoolbooks last August when they were ambushed on a West Bank road. Tehiya, who was five months pregnant, was killed in the attack. Two sons in the car were uninjured, but Steve and his oldest daughter, Tsippi, 15, were severely wounded with spinal injuries that still require constant medical care and rehabilitation. The remaining children, between ages 7 and 13, are being cared for by a neighbor.
When Rabbi Drelich read of the Bloombergs’ plight in The Jewish Week, he set out to raise some money to help improve their lives. He organized a night of Torah study last month in which donations were collected, and he also encouraged students to gather contributions.
“Our goal was $5,000,” said Rabbi Drelich, “but within a month’s time we had collected $40,000. People had this great need to respond.”
Rabbi Drelich said the funds will assist with expenses not covered by health insurance, and help the family purchase a bulletproof van.
In an e-mail from his home in Ginot Shimron, a suburb of Raanana, Bloomberg said the support from SAR students “has helped me a lot. It is a great feeling to know that despite the long physical distance between us, so many people are so close to us.”
Bloomberg, following a prolonged stay in Tel Hashomer Hospital, recently returned to work at Israel Aircraft Industries.
A few weeks after The Jewish Week article appeared in September, Rabbi Drelich went to Israel and sought a meeting with Bloomberg, a British native.
“When he agreed to see me, it was the most moving experience,” the rabbi said. “This guy just had such pure devotion, ideals and a love for Israel.”