Ma'ale Michmas
Settling the Land of Israel - In the heart of the Binyamin region

In Memory of Danny Frei

Who Was Danny?

Danny Frei, the eldest of four children, was born and raised in Golders Green, London.

There, he held youth group programs; Sinai, Study Groups, Family Week, Bnei Akiva, Teenage Centre. Before group bowling event - Photo by Josh Males

Subsequent to studying at Kerem B'Yavneh for two years after high school, Danny returned to London to complete a masters degree in Software Engineering. Before making Aliyah, Danny did a six month internship at a computer firm in Har HaChozvim, Jerusalem, while living in Jerusalem's Old City. When Danny did make Aliyah he lived on Tchernikovsky Street and continued to be an integral part of the young olim community. Living in Israel only increased Danny's desire to give of himself to others. In addition to working full-time, Danny regularly led Shabbat programs for non-observant Jews in the Old City through Tochnit Shabbat and other Shabbat programs through Nitzotz. Danny shared his enthusiasm for Torah with pupils from the JFS Givat Washington Program and with overseas students in the Beit Midrash program at Hebrew University. In addition, he helped to create and then led the Yavneh Olami chevrutah-shiur learning program. It soon became clear that these various organizations could always count on Danny for help, whether though his own hospitality or by leading an activity. Friday Ultimate Frisbee in Sacher Park - Photo by Josh Males

Danny met his wife, Mara Harris of Chicago Illinois, in Jerusalem. They learned, biked, hiked and shared shabbat meals together. After their marriage, they spent their first three months in the Old City and a year in Old Katamon before ultimately settling in their first real home - a caravan in Yishuv Maale Michmas.

Shortly thereafter, Rachel Leah was born. Finally, the Pesach before Danny's death, the three moved into their own home, thereby realizing their dream of Binyan Aretz.

In September 1995 Danny's life was tragically cut short when an Arab terrorist entered the Frei home at night while they were sleeping, killing Danny and the life of their unborn child, as he saved the lives of his wife and daughter. Danny's uniqueness was perhaps best manifested by the ease in which he transformed the extraordinary into the ordinary. Danny never seemed to realise that making Aliyah during the height of the Gulf War was unusual; indeed he felt deprived that during his first week here, he could not experience the bonding effects of the scud attacks on people who "did the war together".

Danny would cycle across Jerusalem just because it was more beautiful than taking the bus and then quickly realized that it actually took less time to get to work that way. After he bought his mountain bike it seemed that the only time that he took a bus was to volunteer with the "Chevra" to Yavneh Olami's Maon Gilo program where each individual "adopted" a friend. One of Danny's wonderful features was his ability to make those from other walks of life feel comfortable, while maintaining his pride and dignity. He was non-judgmental and attracted friends wherever he went as he exhibited an uncanny knack of always making the excluded feel included. It was clear to all that Danny was an active role model and leader. He inspired other into action, motivating them to participate in the myriad of worthy activities that claimed his time. One could never feel tired or apathetic around Danny, a source of boundless energy. It is odd that when people speak about Danny, there are definitely tears, but it is always with a smile peeking through. There was a contagious optimism and unbridled enthusiasm that inevitably rubbed off Danny as you spoke with him. He was a good person. Genuinely, good. Not perfect, but he always strove for perfection, and would not settle with less.

Danny lived out his dreams of Aliyah, Yishuv and family. Danny did what we all set out to do. He remained a dreamer and pure idealist in a world where dreams are too often compromised by life's reality and ideals are lost to time and insincerity. Those who knew Danny mourn for him and those who did not know him, mourn for what he represented. "For some it takes less time to make an indelible mark in this world." Danny made his mark here. Danny's legacy is all of the family and friends who will work harder to fulfill the goals he held close to his heart. As we all continue aiding others, learning, settling down, and believing - we each make a small mark in this world and help to sustain the memory of one good person no longer with us.

Yehi Zichro Baruch.

Text reposted from Kehillat Moriah website.

Some photographs © Eli File.
Last Updated Sunday, April 15, 2012.

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