Yemin Orde Youth Village received the sacred gift of a new Sefer Torah that was donated to the Village by the family of a young girl who was murdered by terrorists in 2003.
The dedication of a new Sefer Torah is typically celebrated in a synagogue with great joy. Indeed, this gift brought much celebration to the Village, although bittersweet, as the community rejoiced and remembered Noam Leibovitch z”l, (photo, right), whose family donated and dedicated the Torah in her memory.
Noam’s family lives near the Village and has deep ties to the Yemin Orde community. Her mother, Galit, is currently Principal at Yemin Orde High School. Noam’s father, Shlomo, served as Yemin Orde’s Deputy Director at the time tragedy struck the family.
Inscribing the last letters on a sacred gift
At the Leibovitch home, the last letters of the Torah were inscribed by Noam’s mother and father, (photo, left) as well as by Yemin Orde students and staff. Village youth expressed their joy with much singing and dancing as they carried the Torah to its new home inside Yemin Orde’s synagogue.
At Yemin Orde, the procession passed in front of the house where Noam lived with her family at that time. The group also passed in front of “Noam’s House (Beit Noam)”, a children’s home built in her memory in 2009 for orphans from the former Soviet Union, between the ages of six and 12. Since there are no longer young orphans living at the Village, today Noam’s House provides a home for Yemin Orde’s fragile teenagers, ages 15 to 18 years old.
Remembering a special girl who brought joy to so many
Along with hundreds of their friends and the Yemin Orde community, the Leibowitz family gathered at the Village’s synagogue to remember their daughter and to present the Village with their special gift.
Galit Leibovitch spoke about her daughter and reminded everyone that Noam’s funeral also took place in the Yemin Orde synagogue. Now, she said, “her spirit is coming back to Yemin Orde in a different form that is happy and meaningful.”
Galit Leibovitch recalled joyful memories of Noam when her daughter played alongside the other children at Yemin Orde.
“Noam was a part of the texture of the Village. We (the Yemin Orde community) ate together every Shabbat and holiday in the dining room, she played on the sidewalks and in the football fields. She knew the synagogue where she moved from the women’s side to the men’s side easily,” said her mother.
A Look Back: When Tragedy Struck a Yemin Orde family
The Leibovitch family, including Noam’s father, Shlomo, her mother, three other siblings and two grandparents, was traveling back to Yemin Orde from Jerusalem after attending a Bar Mitzvah. Gunmen opened fire on their minivan as it traveled north past Tel Aviv on a stretch of road know as Route 6.
Noam, who was sitting in the minivan’s third row of seats with her younger sister, Shira, died on the way to the hospital. Shira was severely wounded but survived the attack. No one else in the car was injured.
Hundreds of people attended Noam’s funeral, including the entire Village and U.S. participants of the Yemin Orde 50th Anniversary Mission, which was in Israel at the time.
The Noam Leibovitch Fund was created shortly after her murder and helped support construction of Noam’s House (photo, right) at Yemin Orde, which provides a home to the Village’s fragile teens.