Like every other victim of Palestinian terrorism, Yael Shevach’s life was also changed in a moment beyond recognition when her 35-year old husband, Rabbi Raziel Shevach was brutally murdered in a drive by shooting outside his home. In the couple’s village in the middle of Samaria, Rabbi Shevach was a central figure, overseeing circumcisions and kosher meat. He was also a teacher, and the local paramedic. It was during the period of 7days of mourning in 2018  that his wife made up her mind to dedicate her life to something that would perpetuate her husband’s memory. Because providing emergency first aid had been so important in her husband’s life, Yael embarked upon setting up a new paramedic station which would serve the region where she lived. It wasn’t easy joining the paramedic course because it brought back traumatic memories of her dying husband being rushed to hospital in an ambulance. But despite these difficulties she persevered, gripped and empowered by the knowledge that life was stronger than death. And by choosing to train to become a certified paramedic with the Israeli ambulance service, saving lives became her revenge. The terrorists wanted to destroy the lives of her and her six children, but Yael wanted to prove them wrong. 

She also recently published a book called “Widow A,” where she deals with loss and trauma, and writes of grief that accompanied her throughout her days as she tried to  carry on and raise her 6 children alone. At first, she tried to be strong and breakable in front of her children because this what she thought she had to be. She recognizes now that it wasn’t good for them never to see her as vulnerable. Her children would ask her whether they will be going to a relative’s wedding in a few months, or what they should dress up for Purim. Although at the time, their questions may have seemed insignificant, they made her understand that life goes on, the world was still functioning and they were still part of it. It took Yael time to understand that it was all right to cry, and that it was perfectly fine to ask for help. Her vulnerability in the book is far reaching. She peppers it with humor and underlying everything is her passion for Judaism.  Her material is relevant and not just for those who have been bereaved. It speaks to all, especially to parents and children cooped up at home under a Corona lock-down, where many families have been worn thread bare and have been at a loss as how to cope. Yale advocates a little fun, closeness and connection. The wisdom attained from her hard-earned experience, is valuable for all.