Skip to comments.'Our life was pointless if we were not together'
Posted on 09/11/2003 5:56:55 PM PDT by yonif
On what was to be their wedding day, Chanan Sand, 19, placed a wedding ring in the grave of the woman he loved instead of on her finger.
Sitting in a house packed with mourners on Thursday Sand said he couldn't let her go without giving her the ring, even though a suicide bomber forever destroyed their dream of a life together. The explosion at Caf Hillel in Jerusalem on Tuesday, the night before their wedding, killed seven, including Sand's beloved, Nava Applebaum, 20, and her father, Dr. David Applebaum.
"She's my wife," he said simply. On the tables in the Applebaum home were the wedding prayer books and pictures of the smiling couple.
"I dreamt of giving her a ring for two and a half years, and I wasn't willing to give up that dream," Sand said.
They met in high school when they both volunteered to work with families in need through the same youth group.
"I loved her immediately, who couldn't love her, but I didn't know how to tell her," Sand said. Their one-year age difference made him shy. When Applebaum graduated high school and moved on to her National Service, she told people, "stay in touch."
Everyone always says that, Chanan said. But he decided to take her seriously. "She didn't know I loved her. I started to talk to her Friday, before Shabbat to call and say, 'Shabbat Shalom,'" Sand said.
"I always wanted to be her friend. She said, 'Many people want to be my friend, but I want one friend who I can marry,'" recalled Sand.
"So I said, 'let's get married,'" he said. She agreed.
They were sure of themselves but they waited, because of their young age, for more than two years. Sand said they had meant to delay longer, until he finished his army service, but as time passed the waiting got harder and harder. Instead, he deferred his army service for another year, so they could marry.
"We decided after a certain time that our life was pointless, if we were not together. We knew it would be hard to be married while I was in the army and that I was very young," said Sand. The whole long week before the wedding they didn't see each other, said Sand.
"The last time I came to her place and she walked me to the car. I told her, 'Do you believe the next time we see each other we will be married?' I said, 'Do you believe you'll be wearing a wedding dress?' I told her how much I'd miss her and that I loved her."
They used the phone a lot, that last week, speaking at least 10 times a day.
When he heard from his sister that people feared Nava had been hurt in the bombing, he went to Shaare Zedek Hospital, where some of the victims had gone and where her father was the head of the emergency room.
He and many family members waited there for news of Nava, already knowing that her father, David Applebaum, was dead. The two had gone together to the caf for coffee.
In response to how he felt about the news that the man responsible for the attack was among the 343 Palestinian prisoners released this summer, Sand said, "I never believed in peace. I knew it was a mistake, I didn't believe the lack of peace could impact me so much."
"In my worst nightmares, I never imagined that she would die. I said to myself, 'OK, worst case scenario she is wounded and we'll have to delay the wedding,'" Sand recalled.
"They said there was an unidentified 20-year-old woman in surgery, that it might be her. But at 3 a.m. they told us it wasn't her, that she had been killed there."
Relatives described Nava as the "perfect student," "perfect daughter," and "perfect friend." Except that she couldn't tell a joke well, said one friend smiling in memory. But she was filled with the joy of life, the friend said.
The family put out albums showing Applebaum smiling. "It sounds like we are talking about her in cliches," said her aunt, Yehudit Spero, adding, "but she was really like that."
Her grandmother said that she wanted to be a geneticist and had loved her National Service working with children suffering from cancer.
Spero said that when Applebaum went with her mother to New York on a shopping trip before the wedding, Applebaum was more interested in visiting the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Her grandfather Shubert Spero recalled how as a child there was a time when she came to his house for lunch during school breaks. Her menu choice was simple egg, cottage cheese, or tuna fish. "Then, being a worried grandfather, I took her to the bus stop, made sure she was on the bus and made sure that she waved to me, and then I left," Spero said.
Does this make me "no better than the terrorists"? Am I wrong to hate? No way. My hate for the evil creatures of Hamas is pure, burning, righteous hate.
Hamakom yenakem dom'om.
Oh Lord, when is enough bloody well enough?
I am crying for this man. He deserved better. She deserved better. All of Israel deserves better.
BTW, did you notice the number, 343? Same as the number of firefighters killed two years ago (looks at clock) yesterday. It's the story of good and evil--Pataki was talking today about how the terrorists were willing to die to take innocent lives while the firefighters and cops were willing to die trying to save the lives of people they didn't know from Adam.
343 dead heroes, 343 live murderous scumbags. Something just ain't right there.
the differance in people amazes me....
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