By David Morris, Florida Jewish News
HOLLYWOOD, Fla., May 17 (JTA) — More than 700 people gathered in Florida this week to remember Daniel Wultz, a teenager who died Sunday in an Israeli hospital as a result of wounds suffered in the April 17 suicide bombing attack in Tel Aviv.
After a memorial service in Jerusalem on Monday, his family accompanied his body to Florida for the funeral.
At the funeral, Rabbi Yisroel Spalter called upon Daniel’s family and friends to celebrate his life, and to remember him and his ideals.
“Those who sow with sorrow will reap with joy,” the rabbi quoted from the book of Psalms. “I’m not looking for joy, there’s no silver lining. But the lesson here is that Daniel’s was a life worth celebrating.”
One of Daniel’s closest friends, Solomon Braun, spoke of his depth of character, sensitivity and special kind of stubbornness.
“Daniel’s stubbornness came out of his demand for righteousness.” Braun said. “Rabbi Spalter told me that the way he was always asking questions, always desiring to do the right thing, it was Daniel who made him really feel like a rabbi. On Shabbos, Daniel didn’t think it was enough to wish people a ‘Good Shabbos,’ so he changed it to, ‘Great Shabbos.’ ”
Daniel’s grandmother, Margie Cantor, asked, “How can one moment in time change an entire family and a community, and in one second raise awareness all over the world? How can one crazy moment in time exist in a place like Israel where they live to celebrate life and their demented neighbors live to celebrate terror and death? Go now, Daniel, and help God to right the wrongs on this earth.”
Daniel’s burial coincided with the Jewish observance of Lag B’Omer, and Spalter compared Daniel to the second-century kabbalist Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who died on Lag B’Omer, and to the students of Rabbi Akiva, a first-century scholar.
Thousands of Rabbi Akiva’s students died in a plague that ended on Lag B’Omer. “Like them,” said Spalter, “Daniel stood before God and died sanctifying his great name.”
At one moment in her eulogy the boy’s older sister, Amanda, asked those gathered to recite “Shema Yisrael” with her.
“My brother’s favorite question was, ‘Why?’ Now we are left to ask, ‘Why?’ My only answer is that God always wants his angels back. It would be so easy for me to pity myself and my parents because of the way Daniel died, but I must find a way to be satisfied for the time he was with us. I will always be with you, Daniel, and love you with all my broken heart.”
Sheryl Wultz, Daniel’s mother, told of how he became more observant in his Judaism during the last year and a half and of his deep love for Israel.
“My son had a smile to match his heart. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for his family and friends and he acted regardless of personal consequences for himself. In his short life he taught me so much and I was blessed to have him,” she said.
Tuly Wultz, the boy’s father, was born in Israel. He was eating with Daniel at a falafel stand in Tel Aviv when the bomber struck and immediately saw the severity of his son’s injuries, which eventually made him the 11th victim of the Palestinian suicide bomber.
“Of the many talks we had about Judaism, I remember the most interesting being about the coming of Moshiach. Daniel truly believed and would ask me, ‘Will I see Moshiach before I die?’ Daniel, you can’t imagine how much I was hoping you were right about Moshiach and that he would appear and rescue you. It is so hard to say goodbye.”
A moment of silence was held in Daniel’s memory before Game 5 of the Miami-New Jersey NBA playoff game Tuesday night.
At a memorial service at Daniel’s school on Monday, classmates who have been wearing handmade blue and white beaded bracelets as a reminder to keep Daniel in their prayers, ended the assembly by cutting off their bracelets and placing them in a box to present to Daniel’s family.
“We said we would not take these off until Daniel comes home again,” said the 10th-grade class president, Sarah Azizi, “but now we must and everyone is crying.”
Holding back her tears, Azizi addressed the several hundred students and teachers, describing Daniel as someone who wanted to get his message of making a better world to everyone he met.
“We all knew Daniel — his permanent smile, his love of basketball and above all his love and devotion to Torah studies and God. He has connected to each and every one of us with his faith, his hope and his acts of loving kindness,” Azizi said. “He wanted to be heard and share his passion for Judaism and Israel. How ironic that Daniel’s tragic ending will have been heard worldwide and that he has touched the hearts and souls of so many. Please, in Daniel’s memory don’t ever have regrets.”
One fellow student, Frima Enghelberg, who recalled how she often asked Daniel for help in math class, shared part of a letter she wrote to him before placing it under a yahrzeit candle.
“Now everyone in heaven is more happy cause you’re there. You’re illuminating the sky now and I hope you can illuminate my brain with math. I will miss you until we meet again one day.”