Friendship Bench

A wooden bench I made for my daughter's school, in memory of the Dee family

This friendship bench was created in memory of the Dee family, who fell victim to an attack by Palestinian terrorists on April 7th, 2023. The two sisters, Rina and Maia, along with their mother Lucy, were tragically murdered in their car while driving in the Jordan Valley. May they rest in peace, and may their memory be a blessing.

The bench has been placed at Morasha Elementary School in Pardes Hanna Karkur. Upon its completion, we invited my daughter's class to our home, where we discussed the Dee family, and everyone crafted their own miniature bench using popsicle sticks (see photo below).

Making the bench

The bench was made from treated pine. I used 5x15 and 5x10 beams for the bench legs, and 2x5 strips for the backrest and seat splats. I routed a recess for the memorial plaque, so that it would be flush with the wood.

A letter to the Dee family

Dear Dee family,

My name is Ruth Shurin (Kadosh), and I am the granddaughter of Rabbi Israel and Rabbanit Malka Shurin Z"L, pioneers who settled in Efrat. My grandfather served as the head of the "Magen Avraham" (מגן אברהם) synagogue. My grandparents were embraced and enveloped by the community for years.

When we heard about the tragedy that befell you and the people of Israel, we could not remain indifferent. We heard stories about Lucy, an esteemed teacher who helped immigrants learn Hebrew to ease their transition to Israel, inspiring other families to make the same journey.

We heard about the strong bond between the sisters and their mother, about love and friendship that every parent prays and hopes will be the same for their own children. We thought about how to honor these holy women.

We wanted to return a hug to the community of Efrat and participate in the sorrow of the family and the community.

We planned a class gathering in our garden for the students of our daughter's class (3rd grade), along with their teacher. They shared who Lucy, Maya, and Rina were and how their kindness and compassion towards others were important to them.

We organized an activity with the class teacher to create friendship benches from wooden sticks that each child prepared. Each bench had the inscription "Love thy neighbor as thyself." (ואהבת לרעך כמוך)

David Malka, the principal of the "Morasha" (ממ״ד מורשה) school in Pardes Hanna Karkur, funded the materials for the benches, and the dear parents of the class commissioned the sign that reads "Friendship Bench in memory of Lucy, Maya, and Rina Dee." My husband, Yoav, designed and built the bench, which now stands in the schoolyard, serving many students.

We will not forget, and we will not forgive, participating in your grief.

Don't keep this brilliance to yourself.

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