In loving memory of Ezra Schwartz
Letter to the Editor
Next year and for the next four years to come, there will be an empty seat here at Rutgers. This past Thursday, Ezra Schwartz, was shot down by a Palestinian gunman when he was sitting in traffic. An 18-year-old boy from Sharon, Massachusetts, Ezra planned to attend the Rutgers Business School next fall, but was spending a gap year in Israel at the Ashreinu Yeshiva in Beit Shemesh, a city North of Jerusalem. In Hebrew, Beit Shemesh means the House of the Sun, and just like the sun, Ezra brought light to everyone that knew him. From Jewish youth groups like USY (United Synagogue Youth) to summer programs like Camp Yavneh, he made a difference in the lives of everyone he met. In fact, there are many people at our very University who knew him personally. After talking to several people on campus, freshman Reuben Dreiblatt, who went to Camp Yavneh as well, was able to sum it up most concisely: “It’s one thing to empathize with a community after a tragedy, but when you can see the face of one of the victims, when you can remember the sound of his voice and understand it will only ever be a memory for the rest of your life? It’s a whole different story.”
The memory of Ezra Schwartz is a highlight reel of what humanity has to offer. Even when he was returning from visiting the grave sights of Israelis who had been murdered in previous terrorist attacks, on his way to deliver snacks to soldiers in the Israeli military, when he happened to be sitting in traffic at the wrong place and time. It was at the junction near Alon Shvut, about 10 minutes south of Jerusalem, that a Palestinian terrorist drove through firing indiscriminately with an automatic rifle in the West Bank. An Israeli and a Palestinian were killed as well, stressing the all too critical reality that intersectional violence solves nothing other than justifying warmongers in their aggression.
Ezra's friends and community described him as being a great and true friend whose positivity and kindness made him an amazing human being. Ezra's funeral was held this past Sunday in Massachusetts, with thousands of people from all over the world watching through live stream. One could only imagine the great things that such a caring young student would have added to this University. Let his memory be a blessing, or as it said in Hebrew, Baruch Dayan Ha’Emet.
Charlie Spiegel is a Rutgers Business School first-year student majoring in business management.