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My colleague in Burgas, Bulgaria

Friday, 20 July, 2012 - 11:32 am


Once again, a terror attack against Jews. And this time in a small town. Burgas, Bulgaria.

Seven dead. Each one is a world on its own.

The Interior Ministry released on Thursday the names of the five Israelis murdered in the suicide bombing in Bulgaria. Itzik Colangi and Amir Menashe were good friends from Petah Tikva. Colangi's wife Gilat gave birth to their first child four months ago, and his birthday was two weeks ago. The couple decided to celebrate in Burgas with their friends Natalie and Amir Menashe, who have a ten-month-old son. Itzik and Amir were killed while packing their luggage onto the bus.
Kochava Shriki of Rishon Lezion was pregnant for the first time after years of fertility treatments. She gave her family the good news shortly before leaving for vacation in Bulgaria with her husband Yitzhak. After the attack, Yitzhak, who was injured, searched for Kochava in the rubble and in the hospital in Bulgaria, and learned of her death a day later.
I will recite special prayers this Shabbat for the thirty-three people wounded, and for the families suffering from their loss.

When you hear such terrible news, you stop everything, say a small prayer and go online to the news websites to get all the updates. Naturally, I immediately also check how far away is the Chabad house in Bulgaria and think and worry about the welfare of my colleagues.  

Through our internal network I learn that the Rabbi in Burgas is Rabbi Chaim Tevardovitch. Chabad today has about 4000 representatives worldwide. We indeed help each other when possible, and work together often, but it is impossible to actually get to know each Rabbi personally.

When I heard the name Rabbi Chaim Tevardovitch it did ring a bell, and I was trying to figure out where I might know him from.... but couldn't think of anything. Then I watched the Israeli News channel 2 who was interviewing the young Rabbi Tevardovitch, and when I see him and hear his voice, it clicked. Of course I know him. He was my camper in summer camp in Israel about 15 years ago, when I was a counselor for the first time in my life.

I remember him as a smart child, but gentle and quiet. Many years passed and I have not seen him since. Now I see him standing infront of the cameras talking about the crazy and yet amazing work they have been doing since the attack. Running from place to place. From department to department in the hospital. To survivors who are still waiting at the airport. All this, while not putting the phone down for a minute, answering calls from Israel, from families searching for their loved ones.

To my dear colleague, Rabbi Chaim from Burgas, I'm not sure if you will be able to read my blog before Shabbat, but from Luzern I am sending you blessings, stay strong in your important work.

May we hear good news. Shabbat Shalom,

Chaim Drukman

In the picture: Rabbi Tevardovitch on Israeli News Channel 2  

Rabbi Tevardovitch surrounded by Israeli tourists a short time after the terror attack:


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