Saturday, October 21, 2017

Michal Salomon with Elad, Hy”d.

Michal Solomon’s quick thinking on the horrific night of the terrorist attack on her family in Halamish surely saved her children. However, she attributes the heroism of the tragedy to her husband, Elad, Hy”d. As she tearfully recalled at the funeral, “On Friday night we signed an unwritten agreement. You saw me run upstairs with the children to protect them and you fought with the terrorist so that he wouldn’t harm us. I stood by my part of the bargain and so did you. And you paid with your life.”

Michal and Elad, from the community of Elad, came to Halamish to spend a joyous Shabbat with Elad’s parents, Yosef, Hy”d, and Tovah, and sister Haya, Hy”d, in celebration of the birth of a baby boy to Elad’s brother. During the Friday night seuda, the door to the Salomon home was open to the expected guests who would be joining them in celebrating the shalom zachor. The attacker, 19-year-old Omar al-Abed, jumped the fence from his neighboring village of Kaubar and walked brazenly into the Salomon home brandishing a knife. His first victim was Haya, who had gone out the door to call for help. Tovah was stabbed in the back of the neck as she turned upon seeing the assailant with knife in hand. Yosef was savagely stabbed to death. Elad, realizing the threat to his young family, staved off the terrorist by confronting him face to face, thus giving Michal time to take their three young children up to the bedroom where their baby twins were asleep. Michal held the bedroom door firmly closed and called for help. Elad was eventually stabbed to death by the terrorist before help arrived. A visiting IDF soldier heard the commotion from a nearby home where he was being hosted for the Shabbat meal. He ran to the Salomon home and killed the terrorist through the window.

Word of the horrific attack spread like wildfire throughout Israel even before the conclusion of Shabbat. Internationally, newswires transmitted reports of the deadly terrorist attack on Saturday night. The Lando family members in America were horrified to learn that their dear cousin Michal, daughter of their uncle Danny Lando, was at the center of the attack.

Despite the physical distance, Michal Lando Solomon remained close with her extended family. Cousin Tali Lando Aronoff recalled her summer in Rehovot when Michal gave up her room and the many family trips when Elad and Michal would “gladly meet us anywhere that was most convenient for us, always with several young children in tow.”

Michal remained involved with the Lando family throughout good times and not-so-good times. According to Aronoff, “When our father David, z”l, developed a malignant brain tumor, Michal made it her business to Skype with him every week just to chat and check in. She kept completely informed of his medical condition. Since he passed away, she has been in constant touch with my mother, making her feel loved and cared for whenever she visits Israel. When I myself developed cancer, Michal began these same phone calls to me. She never stopped calling.

“Her own mother, my beloved Aunt Ziva, a health-conscious non-smoker, passed away this year in her early 60s from non-small-cell lung cancer. Throughout her mother’s illness, Michal, Elad and their children were a constant presence in her home, cooking, laughing and offering emotional support. When Ziva died, together with her brothers and sisters, Michal continued to shop and provide meals for my uncle. They never allowed him to be alone for a single Shabbat meal. Just as in all the pictures, Michal was always smiling and, despite juggling twin babies and three young children, I have never seen her frazzled. I can only imagine that Elad was the reason for that.”

Helpless to ease Michal and her children’s emotional trauma at the loss of their dear father, grandfather and aunt, cousin Tali, a pediatric ENT physician in Westchester, set up a crowdfunding campaign through GoFundMe to ease Michal’s financial burden. American family members Susan Lando, Dov and Debra Lando and Betty and Zvi Lando of West Orange, as well as JJ and Laurie Lando of New York City, have joined Tali and Alex Aronoff in helping to raise funds from their generous communities on behalf of Michal and her children. To learn more about the campaign and to contribute, go to https://www.gofundme.com/Michalsolomon

May Michal and family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Yerushalayim.

By Pearl Markovitz