Thursday, December 23, 2004

How much suffering can one family take?

I was absolutely devastated to read in the Canadian Jewish News of the death of Daniel Baranovski, 10, who was killed in a car crash last week.
Daniel is the half-brother of Matti Baranovski, a young Russian immigrant who was beaten to death by a bunch of teenagers (some of them Jewish) in a park in Toronto in 1999, after he refused their demand for cigarettes. Any Jew who was in Canada at the time (as I was) will remember what happened as an absolutely seminal event for the local Jewish community, who suddenly realized, with a rude shock, just how poor, neglected and unintegrated some pockets of the city's enormous Russian-Jewish population were. The case also made international waves when one of the accused, Israeli soldier Daniel Weiz who was on special leave to visit his father in Toronto, fled to Israel, from where he couldn't be extradited (Weiz eventually did stand trial and was acquitted). To this day, Matti Baranovski and his family hold a special place in the Toronto Jewish community's heart.
Mr. Baranovski is apparently still in serious condition in hospital and does not yet know that his second son was killed. I'm not sure what you can possibly say to a family under such circumstances, but I wish him a full and speedy recovery and that his family should know no more sorrow. Our thoughts are with you.

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