I had gone to school with Fern since elementary school, and we shared a mutual best friend. Fern had more energy that I could ever keep up with and overcame adversity to graduate from the Jewish high school. Her loss devastated our community, not to mention her family. I remember how her bubbe waited outside school every day to walk Fern home, and now that I am a mother I cannot fathom the depth of her mother’s and bubbe’s pain. Almost twenty years later, ask anyone who knew Fern and the wound has barely healed. Today, the scab is being violently torn off.
Of course I am thrilled that Gilad will be returning home to his family and friends. But at what cost? How will Gilad and his family feel when a released prisoner kills again? Fern's murderer has shown no remorse, and it is only a matter of time before he or one of the other homicidal maniacs being released strikes again.
I wish I could ask everyone to take a moment today and pause to remember the victims of the prisoners being released. I have often asked myself how G-d could let Fern die so young, and my only solace was that at least justice had been done. After today, that will no longer be true. I must find a new source of comfort to make sense of this senseless tragedy. Therefore, I hope and pray that our sacrifices in the name of peace shall not be made in vain and that Fern's legacy will be peace in Eretz Yisroel.