Sharon, MA - Schwartz Family Buries Their Son After Gush Etzion Terror Attack: 'We Will Never Be Complete Again'
Sharon, MA - For the throngs of mourners who stood outside an overflowing synagogue paying their respects to Ezra Schwartz, the light rain that fell on them were like heavenly tears, an appropriate accompaniment to a funeral for an 18 year old who left this world all too soon.
On Sunday, inside Temple Israel of Sharon, every seat had been filled an hour before the funeral was scheduled to begin as a stunned community gathered to say goodbye to one of their own.
Among those who mourned the teen were both of his parents, Ari and Ruth Schwartz, his siblings, Mollie, Hillel, Elon and Avi and all four of his grandparents.
Replay video below of the funeral.
Ari Schwartz noted how his son, who was known for his athleticism, used his abilities to benefit others.
“He transformed his passion and skill to nurturing younger players, especially his younger brothers,” said Schwartz, who recalled late night wiffle ball games between his sons, with lights shined into the family backyard in order to complete the game.
Schwartz thanked the United States and Israeli governments for their both their help and their expressions of condolence, remarking that those gestures had been particularly meaningful to the family. Observing that his son’s life had been all too short, Schwartz said that it had been filled with goodness and that Ezra had made him proud.
“Some people live long lives but have unfortunate circumstances that make life hard,” said Schwartz. “Ezra had a wonderful life and he died a happy person and that is more important than anything else.”
“I can’t help but be happy for Ezra. I know you are OK right now. We are the ones in pain,” said Ari breaking briefly into tears.
His mother Ruth also recalled how much her son enjoyed his time in Israel. The last time they spoke, on Wednesday morning, just two days before his death, “He called me and said that his last Shabbat was fun and relaxing with three of his good friends on the beach in Tel Aviv. He also told me that he felt safe and that he was not nervous traveling around Israel,” he said.
“Our family will never be complete again we will miss Ezra dearly, I love you and I am so proud to be your mother,” said Ruth.
His sister Mollie, who was older than him by 21 months, recalled how he always looked out for her and their three younger brothers and was her best friend.
“You were just the best. So smart and so beautiful and so interesting and so friendly and so loving and so interesting and funny and maybe a little annoying, but in the best and cutest way possible. All I wanted was to be more like you. I admire you more than any other person in this world and you are my best friend,” Mollie said.
“How lucky am I, to have to gotten to spend 18 years, side-by-side, with my best friend,” said Mollie.
Growing up, she said, the two of them were inseparable partners in crime. They would play a spy game in which he was power boy and she was power girl. Most of their spy missions involved late night forays to check on their parents to find out what was on television or what the late night snack was.
“You are always going to be my power boy,” said Mollie.
“We shared everything and enjoyed everything together. You made me enjoy life. You were always making jokes and being silly. You played and played with our brothers until there was no more time left,” she said.
“You were so loving and you made people around you feel loved. .. You told me about each friend you had and the details of why you loved each person. Most of the time it was the weird and different sides of them that made you love them the most,” she said.
In their last conversation on Monday, she had ranted about chemistry. He offered some advice which at the time she dismissed, but now understands reflected his philosophy in life.
He told her, “Mollie stop worrying so much. Just do your best. You need to try to have fun also. They were simple words, but they came from my Ezra. I promise I will embrace every moment because that is what you were best at, and that is what you wanted from me,” said Mollie.
“I love you Ezra. You are with me and you are good and you do not have to worry, because I am here,” Mollie said.
Rabbi Meir Sendor of the Young Israel of Sharon who officiated at the funeral, recalled Ezra’s warmth and compassion, praising the teen for his volunteerism and willingness to help others, according to The Times of Israel.
“Ezra gathered everyone together and unified everyone together,” said Rabbi Sendor. “His greatness is how he used his strength to comfort others with great gentleness.”
Ezra Schwartz had been studying at Yeshivat Ashreinu in Beit Shemesh, a school that combines Torah study with community service.
“This is what he chose, this is who he is and this is where he had to be,” said Rabbi Sendor. “He died in the arms of his homeland.”
A sea of mourners made the one mile trek to Sharon Memorial Park where Ezra was buried, with the teen’s friends carrying the tallis draped aron on their shoulders. Sunday’s over three hour long funeral, which was broadcast live and seen by over 7,000 viewers, followed Saturday night’s levaya in Israel at Ben Gurion airport, where hundreds came to honor the slain teen.
The Jerusalem Post contributed to this report.
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