Jerusalem – Details are beginning to emerge about the three victims who died in this morning’s rocket attack in the southern Israeli municipality of Kiryat Malachi.
The three, 25 year old Mina Scharf, 49 year old Aharon Smadja and 27 year old Itzik Amsalem lost their lives when a rocket fired from Gaza destroyed apartments on the top two floors of the building where all three victims lived, as previously reported on VIN News.
While some building residents went into the building’s bomb shelter when alarms went off at 8:00 AM this morning, one resident said that the shelters were not adequately prepared for any kind of attack, according to reports on Israeli news source Ynet.
“There were heavy items in the shelter and it wasn’t in any condition for so many people. Some tenants preferred to ride out the attacks in interior rooms of their apartments while others gathered in the stairwells and that is how this terrible catastrophe happened.”
Smadja, who lived on the third floor of the building, went up to the fourth floor in order to help the Amsalem family during the rocket attacks.
Smadja was a well known fixture in Kiryat Malachi and neighbors recalled that he and his wife Fanny longed to have children, but it was fourteen years before their prayers were finally answered with the birth of twins, ten years ago.
“There was incredible simcha in the neighborhood,” said Mendel Chalili whose mother lives near the Smadjas. “Just ten months ago they were blessed with another daughter, and now all three children are orphaned. It hurts the heart.”
Neighbors remember Smadja as a big baal chesed who made sure to send food for poor people before every holiday. After suffering a heart attack in the past, Smadja closed his neighborhood felafel stand and spent his days learning Torah.
“Everyone loved him,” declared Chalili. “He had a true, good heart.”
Mira Scharf, a mother of three who ran the Chabad house in New Delhi, India, had been married to her husband Shmulik for five years. The Scharfs came to spend some time in Israel and were planning on taking part in a commemorative service in memory of the Mumbai massacre which took place almost four years ago.
“She was a tremendous person who lived her life modestly so that people in India could taste even the smallest drop of Yiddishkeit,” said Rebbetzin Chaya Scharf, the victim’s mother in law. “They built a mikvah in Delhi despite financial hardships and as a grandmother, I can only hope that I can measure up to her legacy.”
Shmulik Scharf had originally planned on going to the Kinus Hashluchim in New York this past week with a stop on the way home to raise funds in Panama, but those plans were derailed when a snowstorm hit Panama.
“If he had been gone, Mira would have certainly gone to her parents in Jerusalem and not stayed home alone in Kiryat Malachi,” said relative Shimshon Goldstein. “Maybe her life would have been saved.”
Photos of the funeral of Mira Scharf below: