July 4, 2020

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09-Sep-19: Looking back into the dark

The oldest of our daughters holds the youngest. Malki ז”ל adored
Haya, her brain-damaged and blind little sister.
The Malki Foundation, which was created under the worst of all conceivable situations exactly eighteen years ago to the day, is more than just a charity for those of us who started it.

It’s a living memorial to the life of a greatly-loved child who was murdered when, being Jewish and living in the capital city of the Jewish state, she was in a pizzeria with her best friend precisely when a human bomb planted by a deeply-bigoted agent of the Hamas terrorist organization – a woman of 21 called Ahlam Tamimi – walked in with an undetected explosives-and-nails-filled guitar case and pressed a detonator.

The precious lives lost in the carnage that followed are gone forever. Their memories remain among those who loved them.

Malki’s memory is honored by work that goes on every day in a modest Jerusalem office from where meaningful, constructive, supportive activities enable families from every part of Israeli society to do things for their child with special needs that otherwise would very likely not happen.

It’s a cause we’re very, very proud to be connected with.

Unlike this blog and some of the things we do, the Malki Foundation’s work has absolutely no political dimension. It’s one hundred per cent about helping people based on their need; nothing else.

A letter received by Arnold Roth last week makes the point in a charming way:

You probably won’t remember me – that’s okay :). But we traded a couple emails a couple years ago when Ahed Tamimi was arrested. I got offended by something you posted online etc. It was a cordial exchange – we even hoped to tag up in Jerusalem but I haven’t made it back there yet – but we strongly disagreed with each other. And we probably still do.
However, I have often thought of this incident and honestly, I think my reaction was wrong. I was never a big donor to the Malki Foundation (I’m not wealthy, just a working stiff) but I realize I should have never stopped giving because of that reason. You do good work with those in need of that type of care. So, I want to apologize to you. We can disagree on politics but a good work is a good work.
I actually tried to make a small donation a couple weeks ago but I guess your site is being revamped. I’ll give it another go next month. Still not wealthy so donations will be small but hey, it all counts, right? I hope you will accept my apology. Keep up the good work.

When we conceived of the Malki Foundation, sitting on the floor of our home in Jerusalem late at night after all the friends and strangers who had filled our apartment had left on one of the seven days of mourning, our heads were filled with the horror of what hatred can do to people.

It seemed to us that the world had reached one of its lowest points.

Then, on the morning that the registration papers for the new charity – Keren Malki, Hebrew for Malki Foundation – were issued by Israel’s registrar of not-for-profits, a more optimistic sense emerged: with this new creation, a legal entity with a mission, we’re going to do some good things for people who need more good in their lives.

Then a few hours later the sky fell again. The date was September 11, 2001, nine-eleven.

In very large measure, our conviction is the world, its leaders, many of its most thoughtful people, haven’t come close to grasping what terrorism is, what it does to lives, to society, to the values that enable us to live together. What we ought to be doing is, at best, imperfectly understood and perhaps a lot worse than that.

One thing though is clear to us from our experience: that responding to the chaos and deep pain by helping others has value, not just in what it does for others but for how it helps to heal and improve us.

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