In memory of Shira Banki



The air stood still in Jerusalem’s Zion Square last night.

More than a thousand teens and young adults gathered there to attend a memorial service organized by the Jerusalem Open House. They came to grieve the loss of Shira Banki, the 16-year old girl who died yesterday afternoon days after being stabbed by an ultra-Orthodox man at last Thursday’s Jerusalem LGBTQ Pride March.

They placed candles on the pavement in the shape of the words “לא תרצח” – “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” Then they hugged and cried.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, in a pre-recorded statement, offered his condolences. His face was ashen. His eyes betrayed the same shock and pain felt by all.

Shira’s family was grieving privately last night.  But they requested that Jonathan Geffen’s song “Shir L’Shira” – “A Song for Shira” performed by Korin Allal (one of Israel’s most beloved rock singers) be played at the gathering. Korin herself took the stage and sang:

Speak now, little girl, I hear you                      דברי עכשיו ילדה אני שומעת

The whole world is listening to your whispers.      כל העולם מקשיב למלמולך

Speak, my angel, I know                                   דברי, מלאך שלי, אני יודעת

We didn’t always listen to your voice.                     שלא תמיד הקשיבו לקולך

Speak bare lips, speak eyes                    דברו שפתיים יחפות, דברו עיניים

As long as milk drips from you smile                       כל עוד חלב נוטף מחיוכך

Hug all of my fears in your two hands        חבקי את כל פחדי בשתי ידייך

Hug big bears in your sleep.                          חבקי דובים גדולים מתוך שנתך

A new and better world I will give you                 עולם חדש וטוב אני אתן לך

Already in a blue gaze you discover                     כבר במבט כחול את מגלה

How important it is to suddenly                  כמה חשוב לראות פתאום חצי ירח

see a half moon

winking, yellow yellow from                        קורץ צהוב צהוב מתוך האפילה

within the darkness.

Be small, nothing will harm you                      תהיי קטנה מאומה לא יפגע בך

A butterfly pin tied to your hair                           סיכת פרפר קשורה בשערך

Be small, nothing will escape you                   תהיי קטנה מאומה לא יברח לך

I will be an adult for you too.                               אני אהיה גדולה גם בשבילך

After songs were sung and speeches spoken, people went their separate ways into the night. And out of shared pain and tears over the sacrifice of a 16-year old girl, a new generation of activists was born.

Yours,


Anat

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Anat Hoffman

About Anat Hoffman

Anat Hoffman is executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center, the legal and advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel.

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