There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth only when they are gone.

There are people whose brilliance continues to shine even when they are no longer among the living.

These lights that shine in the dark of night

they light the way for humankind“. 

(Hannah Szenes)

There is order on the bulletin board in Shira’s room.  Two photos with Mom, two with Dad, two of all four children, and two photos of Shira with each of her siblings: two with Tomer, two with Ella, and two with Adi, so that no one would be offended and no one would feel that he has a lesser place in Shira’s great heart than anyone else.

We had four children – charming, intelligent, wonderful, good-hearted, and most of all, good friends with each other. We are left with three and a terrible pain and longing that any parent would rather die than feel.

We had a daughter who – through luck, good genes, and education (we are not so modest as to avoid taking credit for two of the three) – was endowed with a huge amount of intelligence, and most important of all, just as huge an amount of emotional intelligence.  Such a girl did not grow up in a vacuum, nor did she become that girl only thanks to her parents; she was surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, relatives, a grandmother and a grandfather, friends of her parents, and teachers – all of whom contributed to her and her upbringing and all of whom are suffering the pain of her murder.

Shir Shironet, the wise, the beautiful, the pleasant, the curious, the musical, the girl who was even went through adolescence gracefully and bloomed like a charming flower, with the last year being the best of all:  the peak of success in school, of a frenetic social life, of a healthy interest in boys, a peak of relations with her brother and sisters, and peak of giving her parents nahas (joy) in the simplest and fullest meaning of this old-fashioned word.

Countless times, we collected songs of praise from those who saw and heard Shira.  Not a week would go by without someone praising our eldest daughter. We would return from every parents day at school with an added two kilograms of nahas.

And all that innocence, beauty, happiness, and good fell on the altar of hatred, evil, cruelty, negligence, and stupidity.

We always worried that our daughter might be hurt from someone who considered her femininity to be an object; we never imagined that Shira would be murdered as a symbol.

It was an unnecessary death of an innocent young woman who was full of good intentions and deeds;  a death that brings unfathomable sorrow and grief for us and hundreds of others with no purpose or use.

Neither us nor Shira are part of the LGBTQ community, but we support the right of every person to live his or her life and customs. This message of love and tolerance, which Shira took with her to the parade, she also received from us.

We also wish to say that we have no quarrel with bearded men who wear yarmulkes. We know how many honest and emotional prayers were said in the haredi (ultra-orthodox) community, often in secret, for her recovery.  Our quarrel is with the intolerance, the hate, and the sanctifying of your way at the pain of others.

As we have already said many times in the past few days, we are very private people.  The media waves following the murder of our daughter stunned us, although, in retrospect, it was completely understandable.     And absolutely proper.

That does not ease our pain, but had this murder passed without a long and fierce storm, the despair we are experiencing would be hard to bear.

Painfully paraphrasing Tolkien in memory of our Shira, let us say that had people been more busy eating well, drinking well, and loving well, and less busy chasing after exalted ideals, sacred lands, sacred principles, and all kinds of ways to control and run other peoples’ opinions and acts, we would be much happier and could raise our children in a more beautiful and safer world.

In her lifetime, Shira was accompanied by countless young people and adults. Since Thursday evening, she has been accompanied and treated by many dozens more good and caring people, both in the facilities where she stayed and outside of them. We are grateful to them.

We will now go home and begin to rebuild our family. We will learn to live as a family of five rather than a family of six.  We will try to hate less and love more, and suggest that you do the same.