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Mother’s Grief: Mourner hugs Veronique Pozner, center, after funeral for her son, Noah Pozner.
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Mother’s Grief: Mourner hugs Veronique Pozner, center, after funeral for her son, Noah Pozner.

By JTA

Published December 18, 2012.
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Her husband, Rabbi Sholom Deitsch, had an even grimmer obligation. After news of the shooting broke on Friday, he hurried to the old fire station in Newtown where the families of the fallen were informed by the governor that their children were never coming home.

“It was a horrifying scene, watching how the parents were hearing what was going on,” Deitsch said.

At one point, Malloy, spotting Deitsch in the scrum, recalled that Friday was the sixth day of Chanukah. “It’s supposed to be a brighter day,” Deitsch recalled the governor saying.

On Monday, residents here and around the country were still groping for answers and pledging to do something – anything – to stem what seems like a rising tide of gun violence.

But in remembering Noah Pozner, speakers steered clear of the swirling political debate about gun control, enjoining mourners only to live better lives in memory of the fallen.

“Let us not be lost in sorrow,” said Noah’s brother, Michael. “Let us remember the beauty, laughter, smiles and happiness little Noah brought us. Let us live our lives as healthily, righteously and happily as we can. Let’s do it for our little man, who would have wanted that.”

Rabbi Shaul Praver, the leader of Congregation Adath Israel of Newtown, who has been cast into the national spotlight since the killings, presided over Noah’s funeral. On Sunday, he chanted the El Maleh Rachamin, the Jewish mourner’s prayer, at a nationally televised memorial service attended by President Obama. At the funeral, he said that the secret of Jewish survival was to meet tragedy with resolve.

“We can and we will thrive in the honor of Noah Pozner,” Praver said on Monday. “Let us all make that vow, that we will thrive. We will do something extra in our life, in this world, while we’re here, in his honor. And we can expect the light found in this tremendous sorrow can change the world.”

At the close of the funeral, Praver asked whether any teachers from Sandy Hook were present; a number of hands were raised. Six educators lost their lives in an attempt to confront the gunman and their sacrifice has been widely praised.

“There is something in Hebrew called a Kiddush Hashem, a sanctification of God’s name,” Praver told them. “And we have done that.”


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