2017-08-02 / Home

Former SJ resident comes to the aid of terror victims in Israel

JAYNE JACOVA FELD

Elad and Michal Solomon. Elad was killed holding off a terrorist while Michal saved their children.Elad and Michal Solomon. Elad was killed holding off a terrorist while Michal saved their children.Former Cherry Hill resident Dr. Tali Lando has always thought of her Israeli first cousin Michal Solomon as the kind of person to have around in a crisis. Calm, cool and caring, Solomon has been like glue in a family split between Israel and the United States, extending hospitality to visitors and comforting family members through many a difficult time.

Still, knowing this about her cousin did not make the news of the tragic murder of Michal’s husband Elad during a Shabbat attack July 21 any easier to digest. Elad, his sister and parents were stabbed by a 19-year-old Palestinian who entered the home in Halamish, a West Bank settlement near Ramallah, where they were expecting guests for a family celebration.

Elad, 36, knowingly put himself in harm’s way while Michal gathered three of her young children and ran to safety in another room, where her twin babies were sleeping, and called for help.

“She understood that his job was to hold off that person for as long as he possibly could and her job was to keep the kids safe,” said Lando, who was a Sons of Israel congregant when she and her husband Alex Aronoff lived in Cherry Hill from 2009 to 2011, when she was completing a fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “That was just her personality.”

A neighbor, a soldier on a weekend leave, reacted to the screams and shot the terrorist to end the massacre before authorities arrived. Elad, his sister Chaya, 46, and father Yosef, 70, died from their wounds. Yosef’s wife Tova's wounds were deemed critical; she has since been discharged from the hospital. The attacker, Omar al-Abed of the nearby West Bank village of Khobar, 

Michal Solomon is pictured with her five children. Her cousin, former Cherry Hill resident Tali Lando, is helping the family, who were victims of a terror attack in Israel.Michal Solomon is pictured with her five children. Her cousin, former Cherry Hill resident Tali Lando, is helping the family, who were victims of a terror attack in Israel.

was arrested and taken to a hospital for treatment, and then transferred to Israeli security agencies.

Besides Michal, Elad Solomon is survived by his five children.

Lando and Michal, the daughter of Lando’s father’s younger brother, have been close throughout their lives. As children, the young Israeli willingly gave up her room for Lando to stay in comfort in her home in Rechovot, a town near Tel Aviv. As an adult, Michal would go out of her way, toting young children, to meet up with visiting family from America. When Lando’s father developed a brain tumor, Michal’s weekly conversations with him on Skype were a source of comfort.

While many of her American relatives managed to make it to Israel for funeral services the next Monday that drew some 2,000 mourners, Lando -- a pediatric ear, nose and throat doctor who lives with her husband and three daughters in Westchester County, New York --was unable to go due to her surgery schedule.

Feeling frustrated that she could not be with her cousin and family during shiva, she made a spontaneous decision to do something she’s never before considered; between seeing patients, she created a crowdfunding campaign that, at press time, has already raised more than $120,000 from family, friends and a large number of people with no connection to the family, Jews and non-Jews alike.

“The response has been unbelievable,” said Lando, whose husband’s parents, Anna and Mark Vershinin, and extended family still live in Cherry Hill. “People are responding to the impact of a mother who reacted in the most calm, sane way to something horrific. It has really been something pretty uplifting to come out of this really sad, sad situation.”

Lando said her hope is to raise enough money so Michal and her children could move closer to other family members either in Rechovot or another town where her two sisters live.

“My aspiration is to raise enough for a down payment on a place for them to live that she wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise,” she said. “By making this impact, it could at least take away one of the burdens she has right now.”

She said the closing of the campaign would coincide with her visit to Michal next month, after the 30-day Shloshim mourning period has ended.

For more information, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/michalsolomon

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