We are devastated by the news out of Israel these last hours. Joy turned in an instant to tragedy…from dancing to death in a few horrific moments at Mount Meron.

While the number of those killed in the confusing accident is still unknown, this could be the deadliest civilian tragedy in Israel’s history. Children are believed to be among those killed in the crushing crowd of Lag B’Omer celebrants gathered near the burial site of the 2nd-century sage Shimon bar Yochai.

Our hearts break.

We are grateful to exhausted and overwhelmed first responders, police and Hatzalah rescue volunteers. The Wexner Foundation offers refuah shleimah, prayers of healing to the wounded and our deepest sympathy to the many bereaved families in Israel and beyond burying loved ones. Now it is time to mourn and ache with those who, instead of celebrating a joyous holiday, are grieving their loss and sitting at the bedsides of their loved ones praying for a full recovery. May Shabbat bring to all some measure of comfort.

הַמָּקוֹם יְנַחֵם אֶתְכֶם בְּתוֹךְ שְׁאָר אֲבֵלֵי צִיּוֹן וִירוּשָׁלַיִם

Hamakom yenakhem etekhem betokh shaar avelay tziyon viyrushalayim.

May the Omnipresent comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

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Rabbi Elka Abrahamson is the President of The Wexner Foundation.