Back to school for toddler who lost mother to Gaza rocket

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

Yosef-Yitzhak Sharf returned to kindergarten in the southern Israel town of Kiryat Malachi on Tuesday, his first time back in the classroom since a missile fired by Gaza-based terrorists slammed into his home and killed his mother.

On the second day of the recent Gaza war, a salvo of missiles from Gaza slammed into Kiryat Malachi. One scored a direct hit on the apartment building where the Sharf family lived. Mira Sharf, 26, and two neighbors were killed.

Yosef-Yitzhak lost two fingers in the attack, and his father, Shmuel, suffered serious injuries and was only released from the hospital earlier this week.

Many were sure that the four-year-old toddler would be out of school for some time as his family tried to overcome its emotional and physical wounds.

"Yosef woke up happy and said he was ready to go back to school," the boy's uncle, Shalom Sharf, told Yediot Ahronot. "The teachers and other children were all waiting for him. [Yosef] was not afraid to tell them that his mother had died and that he lost two fingers. I'm not sure he yet fully understands the tragedy that has befallen him."

Shmuel and Mira Sharf and their three children only arrived back in Israel two months ago, and that only in order to renew their passports. The family serves at the Chabad House in New Delhi, India. Shmuel said he plans to return to that mission once he has recovered.

"As soon as I am able, we will return to India to continue our mission work there," said Shmuel Sharf. "We do this also as a memorial to Mira."

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