With great sadness we inform you of the passing of Rabbi Yehiel Rothman, OB”M. He passed away on Shabbos from wounds sustained almost a year ago in the terrorist attack at the Bnei Torah shul in Yerushalayim’s Har Nof neighborhood.
He was 55 years old.
Hundreds of people were attending tonight’s funeral for Rabbi Rotman.
The funeral set out from the Kehilat Bnei Torah shul, where the attack took place.
Four other Rabbis, Aryeh Kupinsky, 43, Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 68, Kalman Ze’ev Levine, 55, and Moshe Twersky, 59, also residents of Har Nof, were all killed in what became known as the Har Nof massacre.
The attack was perpetrated by two cousins, Uday Abu Jamal and Ghassan Abu Jamal from Jebl Mukaber in east Jerusalem on November 18, 2014. They entered the shul shortly after 7 a.m. and attacked the men at prayer with knives, meat cleavers and a pistol.
Policeman Zidan Saif, 30, died from wounds sustained when he was attacked by the terrorists after he arrived at the scene of the incident.
Rothman, originally from Canada, was severely wounded in the attack and never regained consciousness before he passed away.
During the course of the attack, Rothman is reported to have thrown objects at the terrorists and tried to fight them before he himself was killed.
He worked in the State Comptroller’s Office, but would pray and study at the Bnei Torah shul and study center. He was a regular participant in the 6:25 minyan at the shul and served as one of the service coordinators.
“He was one of the most special people in the community,” a spokesman for the community said following his death.
“He always had a smile on his face. He was much loved and his death is yet another blow to the community which suffered such a harsh blow last year.”
Rabbi Ephraim Stein, 57, was at the morning prayer service in the shul which was targeted by the terrorists on that day last November.
Stein knew Rothman well and they had prayed together at the same service for many years.
“He was very cheerful, very outgoing, full of life and he was always enthusiastic about everything he did,” Stein told The Jerusalem Post.
“He would actually sprint to shul in the morning, pray and then go to work, while in the evening he would come and study Torah.”
Stein said that in one of his recent visits to the hospital where Rothman was being treated he sensed that he was aware that people were with him in the room.
“The hospital staff said that at times he was more aware of his surroundings than others, even though he was in a coma,” said Stein.
“He looked to me to be very peaceful, he looked like a “tzaddik,” a righteous person.”
According to Stein, Rothman’s wife in the year since the attack spent much of her time at her husband’s bed side, while taking care of the children who remain at home.
She has also spoken to the community, together with the widows of the four other men, about her life since the attack and about maintaining one’s faith in such circumstances.
Stein himself said that he has returned to normal life since the attack.
“I thank Hashem for every day he gives me life and health and I try to be deserving of this gift,” the rabbi said.
Writing on Facebook, one of Rothman’s daughter’s, Yaffa, said that her father “was murdered by inhumane beasts.”
She added, “He fought them and saved others. May his memory be a blessing.”