Reuven Schmerling

Reuven Schmerling

Reuven Schmerling, 69, a resident of Elkana, was murdered on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 in a terrorist attack. His body was discovered in a warehouse owned by his family in Kafr Kasim. It was covered in stab wounds. He was one day away from his 70th birthday.

Reuven leaves behind his wife Chana, a son, three daughters, and 19 grandchildren. He was the head of a family business in the coal industry.

At his funeral – attended by more than a thousand people – members of his family wore the t-shirts they had prepared for his birthday celebration that same day. “Everything was ready for your birthday. We prepared a song and a presentation, shirts, but the guest of honor never arrived. We did not have time to say goodbye and tell you so many important things,” his daughter Idit said. “Only two days have passed since you left us, and our lives without you are already so lacking.”

Friends and family remembered Reuven as a man of kindness, a loving husband, father, and grandfather, and a leader of his local synagogue, where he had the honor of leading the High Holiday prayers just days before his was murdered.

“He was a focal point of joy and spread light in every framework he was involved in. He was a person who contributed his energies and work for the benefit of the community and was willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need at any time, which he did many times in secret,” a member of the family said.

Because the funeral took place so close to the start of the Sukkot holiday, the family began its Shiva mourning period after Sukkot, more than a week after the murder.

Although police were initially unsure about the motive of the murder, a Shin Bet investigation concluded that it was an act of terror carried out for nationalistic motives. Two Palestinians were arrested for the murder.