My Nephew Never Liked Goodbyes
A tribute to Eli Kay, hy”d, who was murdered by a Hamas terrorist in the Old City of Jerusalem on November 21, 2021
BY RABBI ELI LEVIN
My nephew Eli never liked long goodbyes. When we traveled to see each other, he preferred a quick farewell hug rather than dwelling on the departure. His final ‘goodbye’ when he was murdered in the Old City of Jerusalem took just a matter of seconds, but the legacy of his short life will last forever.
It is tragic that Eli was murdered in a senseless act of terror. He was a young man on a dynamic journey. Passionate about exploring different aspects of life, he was a keen musician, talented at water sports, a hugely intelligent student and a loyal friend to so many.
On graduating school in South Africa he made Aliyah, studied at yeshivah, served as a paratrooper in the IDF, took up his first job which was in agriculture, became a guide at the Western Wall and had just been accepted to study at IDC with aspirations to become a diplomat.
Above all Eli was a person who valued life and all human beings. The depth of the tragedy is that given the chance, he would have befriended his attacker.
Through the tears and outrage that we have experienced from thousands, we hold tight to the belief that the Jewish response to hatred is not hate but education and tolerance. We are asking people to do something in Eli’s honor and tolerance is a good place to start.
Eli enjoyed his daily coffee from the Jerusalem Arab café he frequented. When the vendor noticed that Eli had not visited his store for a few days, he went to find him at the Western Wall. Alas, he won’t find him there now, but the values of Eli Kay’s life will always be etched into the history of the stones.
• Originally published in the Jewish Chronicle.
Rabbi Eli Levin is one of the rabbinic team and executive director of South Hampstead Synagogue in London, UK.