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Yesterdays Bombing

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Martyred mom of 13 mourned

Terrible loss for N.Y. village



Goldie Taubenfeld (below), 43, a teacher from New Square, Rockland County, was killed along with her 5-month-old son, Shmuel (above) in suicide bombing in Israel.

For Yechiel Taubenfeld, the ringing phone in the family's Rockland County home brought the news no son ever expects.

The 18-year-old listened numbly late Tuesday as family friend Assemblyman Ryan Karben (D-Rockland) told him his 43-year-old mother Goldie and baby brother were among the 18 victims of the Jerusalem bus bombing.

"So it's over?" the son asked in disbelief.

"It looks that way," Karben replied.

"We don't understand why God does what he does," said Yechiel Taubenfeld. "We just have to accept it."

A cloud of mourning hung over the Hasidic village of New Square, N.Y., yesterday where Goldie Taubenfeld - a mother of 13 - was a dynamic teacher and community leader.

Hundreds of people gathered in and around Taubenfeld's home to listen stoically to the funeral by telephone hookup from Israel.

"Lots of people here lost a very good friend," said Jacob Spiro. "Even with 13 children, she was ready to donate her time."

Great distress

The bombing also brought unthinkable tragedy to Hanna Nathanson, 27, a teacher who grew up in Monsey, Rockland County.

Seriously injured in the blast, she met with a delegation of American lawmakers and still had not been told her 2-year-old daughter, Tehila, died.

"To look into her eyes and hear her asking for help to find her children - it was a gut-wrenching experience," said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn).

Little Tehila was buried yesterday as her mother recovered from surgery to repair her damaged spleen. She also suffered shrapnel wounds to the face.

Nathanson's year-old daughter, Shoshana, was miraculously pulled out crying from under a pile of bodies.

"They don't know how the baby survived," said Nathanson's uncle, Emanuel Toporowitz, 58, of Brooklyn.

Goldie Taubenfeld, whose parents were among 20 Hasidim who founded the village of New Square in 1957, had traveled to Israel with her husband, Moshe, and two children for a nephew's wedding.

Taubenfeld, a homebody, reluctantly agreed to go.

"I'm just going to the wedding, to the Wailing Wall and I'm coming right back home," she told friends.

After the wedding, she took the children - 5-month-old Shmuel, and Batsheva, 15 - to the Western Wall to pray Tuesday.

They were riding the No. 2 bus back to a friend's home when the bomb went off, killing the baby and injuring Batsheva.

Two of Taubenfeld's other children and her 80-year-old parents managed to catch a flight to Israel in time to attend the funeral.

White drapes blocked the view into the family's simple A-frame home surrounded by birch and fir trees as relatives mourned.

"My wife is taking it very hard, but we have no anger," said Yosef Braicofsky, 23, Taubenfeld's son-in-law. "This is God's will. It's what he wanted."

In the ultra-traditional island of 5,000 Hasidic Jews, no one was more deeply rooted than Goldie Taubenfeld.

She visited the sick and elderly, taught Jewish studies at the local yeshiva run by her husband, and baked a mean chocolate rugalach.

"She was a very special woman," said Izzy Spitzer, a deputy mayor. "She was totally immersed in serving the public and helping people."

The other two American citizens killed in the attack were Rabbi Shalom Mordechai Reinitz, 49, a religious teacher who left Brooklyn for Israel as a child, and his 9-year-old son, Issachar Dov.

"Special is not the word, said Saul Roth, of Manhattan, a cousin. "He was the kind of person you would want everyone to be like."

With Deborah Blachor in Jerusalem

Originally published on August 21, 2003

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Might sound cold, but just yet another casualty in this endless cycle of violence...if I had a dime for every child killed in the Israeli-Palestinian "war" (whether it be Israeli OR palestinian), I'd be a millionaire!

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