Smiling Through the Tears in Tekoa
Jerusalem Post - May 14, 2001 - Gil Hoffman
Justice4JP Prefacing Note:
Although Jonathan Pollard is in dire
straits himself, his care and concern for others is overwhelming. At
Jonathan's request, his wife Esther has been making shiva calls and
hospital visits in Israel for years. Until the Jerusalem Post article
below appeared, these visits they have gone undetected and unreported.
Justice4JP notes that Esther was accompanied by Karen Dub, the wife of
Jonathan's attorney to both the Mandell shiva and the Ish-Ran shiva
The Ish-Ran family, which is sitting shiva in Jerusalem, was contacted
by the Prime Minister's office early on Sunday morning (13/05/01) and
asked to relocate to Tekoa in order to convenience the Prime Minister or
the President so that they would not have to make shiva calls in 2
locations. The Ish-Rans of course declined. Mrs. Ish-Ran later told
Esther Pollard, "My 10 year old daughter was furious. How is it a child
understands that you do not ask such a thing but the government does
not? Whoever wishes to come to see us can come here. Our door is open to
all." The Ish-Rans are sitting shiva in Nachalot, Jerusalem.
Smiling Through the Tears in Tekoa
TEKOA (May 14) - "I love this place, but it took away my
son," Sherri Mandell, mother of slain teenager Ya'acov
(Koby) Mandell, told President Moshe Katsav yesterday
when he came to Tekoa to pay a condolence call on the
The wadi where Koby and his friend Yosef (Yossi) Ish-Ran
were battered to death last Wednesday was beautiful like
the Grand Canyon to him, Mandell said, as she showed
Katsav pictures of her son's bar mitzva, taken less than a
year ago, not far from the site of his murder.
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, MK Benny Elon,
and Esther Pollard, wife of imprisoned Israeli spy Jonathan
Pollard, joined hundreds of well-wishers and Tekoa
residents in paying their respects. Neighbor after neighbor
came over the weekend and told Sherri more stories about
Katsav said that the fact that the Mandells had made aliya
from the United States only seven years ago made their
loss even more of a tragedy. He called on Palestinian
Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to put an end to the
months of raging violence and prevent such tragedies from
Elon, of the far-right National Union party, called the
murders a senseless act of deeply-rooted hatred and said
that the conflict has ceased to be a matter of Left and
Sherri Mandell had no political response to her son's death.
The family sent a message to the neighborhood synagogue
on Shabbat telling their neighbors that they hoped their
son's death would inspire love and not hate.
"I didn't come here because of politics; I came here despite
the politics," she told Katsav.
The family moved to Tekoa because of its picturesque
countryside, its warm and widely assorted population, and
its unique sense of spirituality, they said.
On Lag Ba'omer Thursday night, Tekoa residents held a
bonfire at the site of the murder, where they sang songs
until late at night and vowed to preserve their memories of
their lost sons.
Koby's brother, Daniel, described him as a star baseball
player, who collected baseball and basketball cards, loved
pop music and the songs of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.
His mother described an almost symbiotic relationship she
had with her son, who was youthful in spirit and
mischievousness but very mature in how thoughtful and
caring he was for the members of his family and his
Despite her pain, Sherri Mandell's laugh could be heard
down the street from her house as she greeted people with
a smile, the same way Koby always did.
"That is the way Koby would have wanted it," she said.