On Sunday, January 17, Dafna Meir, 38, was stabbed to death in front of her teenage daughter inside their home in Otniel, Israel. Dafna was a devoted mother to four natural children and two foster children. She was a nurse, a wife, a mother and a foster mother, an advisor and a teacher on halachic issues regarding fertility and a pillar of her community. In her life, cut too short, she accomplished so much good for so many people–acts of kindness and compassion that have a lasting impact on all the lives she touched. Her accomplishments are all the more remarkable when one considers her very difficult, unhappy childhood.
Unable to live at home, Dafna spent her early years at Emunah’s Achuzat Sarah Children’s home, one of Emunah’s five children’s residential homes in Israel for children at risk. The Director at Achuzat Sarah, Shmuel Ron, remembers her, recalling “a sweet girl who despite tremendous challenges possessed so much inner strength.” Achuzat Sarah enveloped her with love and attention, and devised a treatment plan for her individual needs. Shmuel recalls how she underwent “tremendous personal growth” and blossomed at the home.
At the age of 13, Dafna went on to live with foster parents. After completing her military service and nursing school, Dafna worked at a psychiatric hospital in Beersheba. She then served as the community nurse in Omer. Over the last three years she worked as an intensive-care-unit nurse at Soroka, always careful to leave enough time to care for her children.
Dafna’s journey is one that went from needing assistance to giving assistance, from having no family to creating life and nurturing the love of family, and especially to being there for other children in need.
Her husband, Natan, said at her funeral, “My Dafna was one in a million. She grew up without a home and managed to flourish and thrive. That is why Dafna decided to give back to this world, and she did.”
Liora Minka, Chairperson of Emunah Israel, expressed her sorrow on the passing of Dafna and eulogized her, saying, “We are committed to continuing in your tradition and the tradition of Emunah to guide children with backgrounds similar to your’s to grow, develop, to blossom and to succeed. May her memory be a blessing.”