“Until we are turned completely away and there are no avenues left, we continue to press for justice to be served as we feel that it should be. We will continue to provide help and support every day and at every opportunity we can.”
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz
May 1, 2014
by SETH DANIEL EISENBERG
It was eight years ago while helping coach my son’s YMCA basketball team (along with my oldest son) that I first came to know Daniel Wultz.
Andy Abraham, the father of another youngster on our team in Weston, Florida shared news that 16-year-old Daniel, who weeks earlier had played on the same courts upon which our team was standing, was critically wounded in a terrorist attack during a family visit to Israel for the Passover holiday. He asked that we pray for Daniel and his family, as we did that game and others too throughout Daniel’s month-long courageous, struggle to live.
Our team included Christian, Muslim and Jewish players who loved sports and each other. I still remember the moment a very special youngster on our team, Sami Amir, whose family had immigrated to our community from Pakistan, proposed we dedicate our games to Daniel.
At that time, we knew little of our neighbor who was fighting for his life 6,500 miles away in a Tel Aviv hospital. But we did know he shared our teams’ passion for basketball, devotion to our community, and love of sports. For our team, that was enough. Daniel was one of them. And for the parents of each of those youngsters, during weeks of daily prayers and updates, Daniel Wultz became our son too.
On May 14, 2006, Daniel’s fight for life that he took into more overtimes than any doctor could believe, ended.
It was Mother’s Day.
Our hearts, like those of so many others who held Daniel and his family in our thoughts and prayers, broke that day.
Daniel’s body is buried not far from those basketball courts in a serene setting his devoted father, forever haunted by each nanosecond of the moments that stole the life of his beloved son and forever changed his own, visits faithfully.
In the days following Daniel’s funeral, his family and I became friends. Long after parades of mourners departed the soul-wrenching melancholy of their nearby home, our friendship continued to grow. Like his parents, friends and many more, I too hold Daniel in my thoughts and prayers each day.
Soon it will be eight years since my dear friends, Sheryl and Tuly Wultz, welcomed me to stand beside them in their commitment to honor Daniel’s memory and help make the world safer for all of our children.
I’ve long been touched by the knowledge that no matter what Tuly and Sheryl do, they cannot return Daniel to the home and life he cherished. I have never met such brave, selfless people who in the midst of hell’s deepest horror, turned their thoughts and actions to helping others.
Yesterday, along with one of my sons who stood with me on those basketball courts eight years ago – today completing his second year of medical school – we stood as silent witnesses and guardians for Sheryl and Tuly Wultz while Republican and Democratic congressional leaders came together in the office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to honor Daniel’s memory.
It was an all too rare moment to see so often divided political leaders come together in heart, mind and spirit. They included House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Democratic Leader Debbie Wasserman Schultz, House Foreign Relations Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Anti-Terrorism Caucus Co-Chair Kay Granger, Ranking Minority Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel and many others. They were there for Daniel, his family, and every other family who has known loss no parent should experience. In our hour together, they learned much about the faith and devotion that sustained Daniel’s life, and offered powerful prayers and support for the family in their continued fight for the justice all of our children deserve.
I have to imagine Daniel was there with us too, as only he could have brought us all together. In the past eight years, there have been more moments than I can count in which I’ve been aware of Daniel’s spirit and presence.
May our prayers for Daniel and his family be fulfilled. In Daniel’s name, they are prayers for the safer, saner, more loving world each of God’s precious children, wherever they live, count on us to create.