Message from Elliot’s classmates, the Amazing Classe 2E. Elliot is back row, second from right. (Translation of message below)
“Ciao Elliot è passato un altro anno scolastico, ma ricordati che SEMPRE ED OVUNQUE sarai della classe fantastica 2E!
Ovunque tu sia sarai sempre con noi e noi non ti scorderemo MAI!
Ti aspettiamo fiduciosi, e pronti a fare una festa al tuo ritorno!
Ti vogliamo bene e daremo qualunque cosa per riavere un amico come te!
Speriamo che anche l’altra foto di classe ti sia arrivata!
Nessuno si scorderà mai di te e rimarrai sempre nei nostri cuori!
See you soon!
Tutta a 2E!!!!!
P.S.: come vedi ci sei anche te nella foto!E ricordati che in qualunque foto di classe ci sarai te!!!!”
“Ciao Elliot, a school year has gone by, but remember that you are ALWAYS AND EVERYWHERE part of the fantastic class 2E!
Wherever you are you will always be with us and we will not forget you EVER!
We’re faithfully waiting for you, and ready to have a party on your return!
We love you and we’ll give anything to have back a friend like you!
We hope that the other class picture we sent you arrived!
Nobody will ever forget you and you will always be in our hearts!
See you soon!
All of 2E!!!!!
PS.: as you can see you’re even in our picture! And you’ll be in every class picture!”
Ezra – a Strawberry of Hope
In the Spring of 2011, five year-old Ezra planted a strawberry plant in a little garden he made in front of his house. Ezra’s favorite flavor is strawberry. He was a very good gardener.
Every morning before going to school, Ezra checked to see if any new strawberries were peeking out. Every afternoon after school, he carefully watered his plant. He chased away the snails and any threatening insects. He kept the ground near the strawberry clear of weeds.
Ezra’s plant produced only a handful of fruits, but he was pleased with his success. He made sure everyone had a chance to taste how delicious they were, freshly picked. When he came home from his vacation at the beach in August, he happily discovered his plant had survived the heat of the Tuscan summer. Before going to his mother’s for a vacation from which he has still not returned, Ezra watered his plant and pulled away some weeds near it. He checked his plant one last time before getting in the car.
Ezra has not seen his plant for nearly 7 months. If his family and friends at home could speak with him, they would have told him many things, including Happy Birthday on February 26, or that Florence had the coldest winter in the past 25 years, all covered in snow. But Ezra is in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he has been placed in an institute, a Yeshiva, where he is not permitted contact of any time with his family or his friends at home. No one has had contact with Ezra, in person or by phone, all this time.
Ezra does not even know that the most remarkable thing happened. When the Tuscan snows melted, his strawberry plant was still there, thriving.
It is waiting for Ezra to come home.
This is a plea from our family to you to please allow the children to have access via phone, email or Skype with their father, their grandparents, aunt and uncles, cousin and their friends in Florence. It has been more than five months since you fled Florence with them to Russia without allowing them any goodbyes to anyone or even a chance to pack up the belongings that are most dear to them.
It is heartbreaking to see their bedrooms as they left them, without any idea that they would be leaving so abruptly, to hear their friends and teachers concern and fear about what has happened to them and why, and to their little cousin who, in the meantime, has begun to speak at 2 ½ years old and tells her mother all the time that she wants to see them; every time she visits her uncle’s house and sees her cousins’ empty rooms she calls for them.
Please, Marianne, think of the children’s young lives right now and their well-being and put an end to this hiding out and creating a barrier that separates them from the world and people they know and love so much. They are innocent children and do not deserve this.
Questa e’ una preghiera che la nostra famiglia ti rivolge affinche’ tu permetta ai bambini di comunicare via telefono, email o Skype, con il loro padre, i loro nonni, la loro zia e i loro zii, la loro cugina e i loro amici di Firenze. Sono passati piu’ di cinque mesi da quando tu hai lasciato firenze con loro per andare in Russia, senza consertirli di salutare qualcuno o di mettere in valigia le loro cose piu’ care.
Fa male al cuore vedere i loro letti come loro li hanno lasciati, senza l’idea che sarebbero andati via cosi’ bruscamente. Fa male al cuore sentire la preoccupazione e la paura dei loro amici e insegnanti su che cosa sia loro successo e perché. Fa male al cuore sentire la loro piccola cugina, che nel fratempo, ha cominciato a parlare, dire sempre alla sua mamma che vuole vederli o sentirla che li chiama ogni volta che va a casa di suo zio e vede le loro camere da letto vuote.
Per favore, Marianne, pensa alle vite dei bambini in questo momento e al loro benessere. Smetti di nasconderli e di creare una barriera che li separa dal mondo e dalle persone a loro care. Sono bambini innocenti e non meritono tutto questo.