Parents of Slain Israeli Teen, Bat-Chen Shahak, to Present Her Diaries at SHU

News Story: October 5, 2012

Sacred Heart University will host a presentation by Tzvika and Ayelet Shahak, an Israeli couple who lost their 15-year-old daughter, Bat-Chen, to a suicide bomber in Tel Aviv. She was killed on her birthday, during the festival of Purim, and the Shahaks have taken up the cause of reconciliation in her memory.

The program is free and open to the public. It will take place on Wednesday, October 15, in University Commons at 4 P.M.

Criminal Justice Professor Matt Semel learned of the Shahaks’ work while doing research in Israel. He explained that they feel they had two choices after Bat-Chen’s senseless death: to close in on themselves in their grief or to use the occasion to help repair the world and be sure such incidents are less likely in the future. Following their daughter’s killing, the Shahaks published her journal, and The Bat-Chen Diaries is now available in many languages and is widely used in writing classes. They hope the book will encourage young people to write, both as a means of self-expression and as a way toward healing. The group they founded, the Association for the Commemoration of Bat-Chen Shahak, has two principal goals: promoting peace – encouraging meetings between Arabs and Jews, nurturing dialogue, and rejecting violence – and fostering literacy through educational endeavors in creative writing.

The Shahak family is involved with a group for Palestinians and Israelis who have lost loved ones in the longstanding conflict.

This event is sponsored by the University’s Center for Catholic Thought, Ethics, and Culture and Middle Eastern Studies Program.