At funeral, slain teacher remembered for warmth, dedication to students
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'Teach me to be optimistic at times like these,' son says in eulogy

At funeral, slain teacher remembered for warmth, dedication to students

Yaakov Don, 49, who was shot dead Thursday in West Bank terror attack, is buried with thousands in attendance

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Friends and family attend the funeral of Rabbi Yaakov Don, a resident of Alon Shvut settlement, on November 20, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)
Friends and family attend the funeral of Rabbi Yaakov Don, a resident of Alon Shvut settlement, on November 20, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90)

Palestinian terror victim Yaakov Don, 49, was laid to rest on Friday morning, with mourners recalling the long-time Jewish educator’s dedication to his students — and his unwavering optimism.

The resident of the settlement of Alon Shvut was shot dead by Palestinian gunmen on Thursday night in the Gush Etzion bloc in the West Bank, along with 18-year-old US national Ezra Schwartz and Hebron resident Shaadi Arfa.

Thousands of Israelis flocked to the Kfar Etzion cemetery on Friday to pay their final respects.

“You always told me ‘what did I do to deserve you as a wife?’ but I am the one who was blessed,” Don’s wife, Sara said at the funeral, according to the Ynet news website. “I was blessed with a loving, attentive husband, you had so much feeling and warmth — toward me, your children, and your parents.You were a simple man in the greatest sense of the word — you never wanted anything.”

“I thank God for the 22 happy years we had together,” she continued. “From heaven, please pray to God to give us strength.”

Also speaking at the funeral, Don’s son Aviad said: “I don’t understand why and how you aren’t here anymore. How a person like you could be murdered because of this evil.”

“Teach me how to be optimistic at times like these,” he added.

Yaakov Don, killed during a terrorist attack at the Gush Etzion Juntion, November 19, 2015 (Courtesy)
Yaakov Don, killed during a terrorist attack at the Gush Etzion Juntion, November 19, 2015 (Courtesy)

A statement from the Alon Shvut community described Don as an “educator to the bone. He loved education, and above all, he loved his students. He was a man of education and of smiles.”

Don is survived by his wife and four children. On Thursday, he was on his way to visit and study with his two sons learning in a yeshiva in the settlement of Maale Adumim when his car was ambushed.

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