One of those killed in the terror attack in Jerusalem was a relative of American Ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer. On Friday the ambassador attended the funeral of Anna Orgal, 55, who was buried in the Yarkon cemetery.
Dozens of friends and family members crowded around the fresh grave, including her elderly parents, Holocaust survivors. Her mother arrived at the gravesite with great difficulty, supported by relatives. Her father, Baruch Orgal, came in a wheelchair. The ambassador stood not far from her parents, tears in his eyes. There were no eulogies.
One day after the attack Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who heard that a relative of Ambassador Kurtzer was among the dead, requested a meeting with the ambassador without delay. The two met on Thursday afternoon for an emotional conversation, during which Kurtzer’s eyes filled with tears. The ambassador told Sharon about his late relative, about her parents, and about the deep connection that existed between them for many years, and the prime minister consoled him with words of a very personal nature.
Dan Kurtzer, 53, is the most Israeli US ambassador ever to serve here. He is a religious Jew who speaks Hebrew and whose children were educated here. The attack on the Number 14 bus last week turned his connection to this land to one of blood.
Ambassador Kurtzer’s mother is the cousin of the mourning father. As in many Ashkenazi families, the Holocaust did not leave them a large family tree. The branches were cut off, and the small Orgal family from Tel Aviv became the close family of Ambassador Kurtzer.
Anna, who was almost the same age as her American cousin, grew up and was educated in Tel Aviv. She studied at university and settled in Jerusalem. In recent years she worked in cultural institutions-at the Cinematheque and later at the Bible Lands Museum.
Anna did not build her own family; culture was her whole world. “She was a smart, beautiful girl,” a friend said of her, “a woman with a passion for culture, a lover of books and people.”
This piece ran on June 15th, 2003 in Yediot Ahronot