Ezra Schwartz, 18, murdered in shooting attack in Gush Etzion
An American from Sharon, Massachusetts, learning in Yeshiva in Israel
Nov 19, 2015 - Ezra Schwartz, 18, of Sharon, Massachusetts was one of three people killed when a Palestinian terrorist opened fire with a submachine gun at cars in a traffic jam at the Alon Shvut junction, south of Jerusalem.
Ezra Schwartz, a US citizen and a student at the Ashreinu Yeshiva in Beit Shemesh, came to Israel as part of a nine-month volunteer program. The group of volunteers had travelled to the area in order to hand out food to soldiers and visited the memorial established for the three Israeli teens who were kidnapped and killed last summer. Ezra was one of three people killed in the attack, and several of the volunteers were wounded.
Ezra was born in Sharon, Massachusetts, where his parents and four younger siblings reside. He came to Israel on a gap year after graduating from Maimonides Day School in Brookline, Massachusetts, and had planned to attend Rutgers University next fall. Although he was excited about going to college, his primary passion in life was connecting to Israel.
Ezra was a camper and then a counselor at Camp Yavneh in Northwood, New Hampshire. From lifelong camp buddies to teammates on his high school baseball team, friends of Schwartz recalled a highly driven young man, known for telling good jokes and helping bring others out of their shells. The first week of last summer Ezra received the Outstanding Counselor award.
In addition to loving Israel, several of his friends noted his passion for helping others. Though remembered for occasional mischief and wise-cracking, Schwartz was unanimously praised for reaching out to people in need of friends, and encouraging others - including his four siblings - to be themselves.
Ezra’s uncle, Yoav, who lives in Ra’anana, recalled him as a teenager who loved sports and whose easy manner and sense of humor drew everyone to him. Ezra was respected for his role as captain of the baseball team at Maimonides School. Former teammate Zachary Blitstein, related that "Ezra also showed his toughness. Even though he was one of the shortest guys on the field, he was probably the toughest guy I have ever known. He did the dirty things like diving for grounders, or sliding into home plate."
Ezra Schwartz will be buried in his home town in Massachusetts. He is survived by his parents Ari and Ruth, his sister Mollie, and three brothers - Avi, Elon and Hillel.