Students and faculty at the Bnei Tzvi yeshiva in the town of Bet El in southern Samaria were in mourning Thursday, after the death of Shalom Yohai Sherki in what is looking increasingly like a “car terror” attack in Jerusalem Wednesday night.
Sherki was struck, apparently on purpose, by an Arab driver late last night, in an incident which also left an Israeli woman in serious condition.
The son of a prominent religious-Zionist rabbi, Sherki was a former student at Bnei Tzvi, and had worked as a madrich (youth counselor) at the yeshiva after finishing his army service.
“Shalom was an amazing guy, full of the joys of life, with a huge smile constantly on his face,” the yeshiva related in an official statement.
“Shalom was filled with a love for mankind, a giving and happy person (who) always raised the mood around him, sometimes just by his mere presence.”
Recounting his time as a counselor, the statement said he “guided his boys very successfully,” instilling in them Jewish values such as the importance of giving to others, “a love of God and a fear of Heaven – and all with unbounded love and dedication.”
Fellow students described him as simultaneously a likable friend, “virtuous and filled with (Jewish) values,” and on the other hand someone “endowed with great strength to act and organize.”
By way of illustration, his friends related an incident one Shabbat during last year’s snowstorm, when the yeshiva lost electricity and began to run low on food.
Ever-industrious, Shalom organized the students into teams and baked pitta bread over gas fires – an ingenious idea which both filled their stomachs and brightened the mood with a sense of camaraderie.
“Instead of a depressing Shabbat full of low spirits, thanks to Shalom we had a happy, uplifting and unforgettable Shabbat. All of us – students, counselors, teachers and every member of staff.
“We haven’t yet digested the loss of such a special person.”
Members of the Ariel youth movement’s Bet El chapter – of which Sherki was an active member and leader – were also shocked to receive news of his death this morning.
Members of the chapter described him as someone “utterly dedicated” to his work, who played a key role in consolidating and growing the chapter in Bet El – which today is the largest Ariel chapter in the entire Binyamin Region.
Many of the youth he worked with told of how he “was always there for us and invested in all his activities in a remarkable way, as if it was the first activity he was carrying out.”
The chapter’s leadership received news of his tragic death “with shock and pain”, and sent condolences to the grieving family.