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Bristol Jewish students mourn the victims of West Bank shooting

Rina and Maia Dee - Dee Family

By Milan Perera, News Writer

The Jewish student community of the University of Bristol has paid tributes to the three victims of the recent terror attack in the West Bank.

Maia and Rina Dee, two British-Israeli sisters were killed on Friday, April 7, in a shooting in the West Bank region. Lucy Dee, mother of the two sisters was airlifted to Jerusalem with severe injuries but later died on Monday 10.

There was an outpouring of sympathy and solidarity from the university's Jewish student community. In a statement issued by the University of Bristol Jewish Society (JSoc) expressed their disbelief and profound sorrow over the recent events:

‘The whole of the Bristol JSoc community is deeply shocked by the heartbreaking news of the horrific attacks in Israel, resulting in the murder of Rebetzen Lucy Dee and her two daughters Maia and Rina.

So many in our community were so fortunate and honoured in knowing Rebetzen Lucy, Maia and Rina, as both friends or family and we are appalled by this senseless attack.'

The Bristol JSoc community also expressed its love and support for its committee member Benji Callman, as he mourns the loss of his two cousins and an auntie.

Union of Jewish Students (UJS), umbrella organisation that represents Jewish students from over 70 universities around the country also expressed its sadness and solidarity at the aftermath of the shooting.

Social media post from UJS - UJS

The sisters, aged 16 and 20, and their mother were on their way to a hiking trip in the Jordan Valley when they were shot at from a passing vehicle. The sisters were pronounced dead at the scene while the mother was moved to Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem where she was in a coma for three days before passing away.

The father of Maia and Rina and husband of Lucy Dee, Rabbi Leo Dee is a well known figure among the Jewish community in England who served as the Assistant Rabbi for Hendon United Synagogue in 2008- 2011 and Senior Rabbi in Radlett United Synagogue from 2011 until 2014 before moving to Israel.

Bristol student Shiri Kleinberg and Maia Dee at school - Shiri Kleinberg

It was a deeply personal and poignant moment for Shiri Kleinberg, a second-year Physics student at the University of Bristol who received the tragic news while holidaying in Israel during the Passover.

Shiri Kleinberg, the former President of JSoc was a close school friend of the deceased Maia Dee. Both Shiri Kleinberg and Maia Dee attended Independent Jewish Day School (IJDS) in Hendon of which Kleinberg has fond memories. Kleinberg attended the joint funerals for Maia and Rina Dee which was attended by several thousand mourners.

Speaking to Epigram she expressed her shock and sadness of the events unfolded in the Jordan Valley: ‘Maia was a good friend of mine who I hung out with a lot on the playground and she always had my back no matter what. There wasn’t a time she wasn’t kind to everyone and she was always smiling.’

School friends - Shiri Kleinberg

She further pointed out that: ‘I am devastated by the loss of a close childhood friend of mine and her lovely sister and mother. There is so much evil in someone who can destroy innocent people’s lives so brutally, leaving such loss and sorrow in the world. The three victims murdered in the attack were some of the kindest people I knew, and anyone who knew them only has fond memories of them. May their memories forever be a blessing.’

Rabbi Dee with family in happier times - The Dee family

Rabbi Leo Dee was widely praised for the way he responded to the recent events that unfolded. Addressing the media at the aftermath of the tragedy he referred to the rare confluence of Easter, Passover and Ramadan: ‘All world religions believe that we have the power to tell the difference between good and evil so that we can choose to do good.

And if we choose good, then we make the world into a better place. I am saddened that recently - maybe over the past 20 years of my life, this innate ability to differentiate between good and evil has been gradually lost from humanity.’