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Miracle on Rav Kook Street

Debbie Shapiro

Several weeks ago, there were two enormous explosions, one immediately following the other, in the center of Yerushalayim. Eleven Jews were killed, and close to 200 were wounded, many of them seriously.

About half an hour after the initial explosions, yet another bomb went off, this time on a side street only a few meters away from the first two explosions. The terrorists had intended to use this bomb to injure the scores of police and rescue workers who had rushed to the scene to attend to the wounded.

Several minutes before this third explosion, a large crowd of frightened bystanders had fled the area, warning everyone in their path to run as far away as possible. For some reason, they had seemed to know of the imminent danger.

One of those bystanders was Ephraim Baron*, a yeshiva student whose family recently made aliya to Yerushalayim. Originally from New York, the family settled in the Kerem neighborhood bordering Geula and Yaffo Street. Most important of all, the neighborhood was close to many of the famous yeshivas and chassidic shteibelach (small synagogues).

On the night of the explosion, Ephraim had invited two of his close friends to join him at his parent's home for a melava malka. After the meal, the three boys had already stepped halfway out the front door when Ephraim's baby brother, Yanky*, began to cry hysterically.

"He just would not allow us to leave," said Ephraim, "and kept on pulling us back into my parent's home. It seemed as though he had a premonition of what would soon happen."

By the time the boys left, it was almost 11:30 p.m.

The boys were walking up Yeshayahu Street, in the direction of their yeshiva, when they suddenly heard an enormous explosion coming from Yaffo Steet.

"I was overcome with such fear that I can't even describe it," said Ephraim. "It literally rocked my body.

"After the initial shock," continued Ephraim, "Everyone on the street began to run toward the explosion, and I joined them."

Ephraim and his friends were among the first to arrive at the scene of the bombing.

"Only two or three ambulances had arrived before us," said Ephraim, "and everywhere I looked I saw injured people lying on the ground, screaming and crying. I began to cry, too."

Despite their initial shock, Ephraim and his friends immediately went to work helping the ambulance crews load the injured onto stretchers. After a short while, however, trained medical personnel arrived, and the boys' help was no longer needed. Ephraim, together with his friends, walked to an adjacent street, Rav Kook Street.

Meanwhile, Ephraim's mother, Frummie,* was about ready to get into bed when she felt their home rocked by an explosion. Within a few moments, it was followed by yet another explosion.

"A few minutes later I heard the sirens and realized that there had been another terrorist attack," said Frummie, "this time in the heart of Yerushalayim. I tearfully began to recite Tehillim - Psalms."

About 20 minutes later, Frummie felt that she could not continue. "I had a sudden overwhelming sense of fear for my son's safety, and although I would not normally stop while in the middle of reciting Tehillim, I just had to know if he was all right."

Frummie immediately called her son on his cellular phone. At that point, Ephraim and his friends were standing on Rav Kook Street, paralyzed by fear and overcome with emotion just a few feet from an innocent-looking car. When Ephraim heard his mother on the phone, he began sobbing as he described the horrible sights he had just witnessed. Frummie, however, was overcome with an almost tangible fear that, within a few minutes, another bomb would explode. She interrupted her son and told him to leave the area immediately, before there would be another explosion.

Ephraim, however, hung up the phone, and continued standing next to the car, staring in shock at the scene unfolding before him, until one of his friends asked him what his mother had said.

"She told me that we should run quickly," said Ephraim, "before another bomb explodes."

"You know," said his friend, "she's right. Who knows? Maybe this car, the one that we are standing next to, is really a bomb."

With that, the boys began running down Rav Kook Street, warning everyone they saw that there could be another explosion within a few minutes.

While racing down the street, Ephraim took one look back, and screamed to a friend who was still standing near the car that he should run before it is too late. The friend started to run, and the bomb exploded.

"It was like seeing the fire of Gehinnom (hell) rise from the earth," said Ephraim. "The initial explosion was several stories high."

Ephraim was pushed under a nearby car by the force of the explosion. Within a few seconds, however, he was up and running, trying to flee the area. "Everywhere people were running hysterically through the streets," said Ephraim. "When we finally reached Meah Shearim, we just stood there, together with hundreds of others, and cried."

Ephraim's friend, who had begun running only seconds before the explosion, suffered severe burns on the back of his head and back. The fact that he had started running and was not facing the actual explosion probably saved his life.

Although there were some injuries from this third bomb, there were no casualties. Had it not been for Frummie's strong premonition, dozens of youngsters who were standing around that car would have been severely injured-if they were lucky.

"I am sure," said Frummie," that these youngsters were saved through the merit of the Tehillim that were recited by hundreds of Jews throughout Eretz Yisroel the moment they heard that there had been another bombing in Yerushalayim."

*Not real names.

(Copyright Yated Ne'eman).

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