“It was late on a Friday afternoon in February 2013 when two Israeli backpackers arrived in Bondi, desperate to find a place to stay for Shabbat,” Rabbi Dovid Slavin recalled to The AJN.
“A wrong turn brought them to the Slavin house, where my daughters Chana and Shaina welcomed them in.”
The young Israeli couple were Tamar Kedem and Yonatan Siman Tov.
“We showed them our bedroom and said, ‘This is the guest bedroom in our Chabad house, make yourselves comfortable,’” Chana said.
“Shaina and I showed them around the house and fed them with plates of schnitzels and other delicious pre-Shabbat food.”
What was initially intended to be a weekend stay turned into six months. Tamar and Yonatan helped Rabbi Slavin and his wife Laya at Our Big Kitchen, they ran programs at the hospitals, dressing up and bringing joy to the children.
Years later, the hospitality was returned when the Slavin children stayed with Tamar and Yonatan at their home in Kibbutz Nir Oz.
Tragically, Tamar and Yonatan, along with their six-year-old daughters Shachar and Arbel, and their four-year-old son Omer, were all murdered by Hamas terrorists in Nir Oz. Yonatan’s mother, Carol Siman Tov, was also murdered with them.
The news has devastated the Slavin family.
“They painted magnificent murals on the wall, they brought the love of Israel and the dedication of their families who were living under the constant threat of Gaza into our home and our world,” Rabbi Slavin said.
“They were like family to us.”
Yonatan and Tamar Siman Tov stayed with the Slavin family in Sydney for six months in 2013.