A virtual letter to our unforgettable and beloved son Hagay Shefi (34), upon the 10rh Anniversary since he was taken from us.
On 9/11/01, 15:55 Israel time (08:55 US time) your mother and myself were at home, in a suburb of Tel-Aviv, Israel. We intended to go out for arrangements, however when I looked at my watch, I decided, as usually I do, to wait for the Radio news at 16:00. The news broadcast was opened
*This letter was sent to the National Museum of 9/11, to be opened on 2012
with description that “a small airplane crashed into one of the WTC Towers”. After 2 seconds our TV was opened on CNN channel. We watched
that suddenly a big passenger’s airplane crashed into the south Tower of
WTC. Your mother started to worry and suggested that we shall call you immediately. I tried to convince her that there is nothing to worry about, since your business as the Co-Founder and President of GoldTier Technologies Inc., was in New Jersey. Mother refused to agree (Mother remains always a mother), so I tried to get you by phone. There was only a recorded answer with your voice. Your mother insisted that we call Sigal, without any delay, your wife. Sigal’s phone was occupied 10 minutes, but finally she answered and said: “Yes, Hagay is there, at WTC, North Tower, 106th floor. He was invited to speak as a keynote speaker at a Conference of Directors of NY Banks at “Windows on the World”. Sigal added: “Just now he called me and said that “a bomb has exploded and there is a lot of smoke and fire in the building”. He added that he does not believe that the people at this floor (106th) will survive and used words of farewell. We shall never forget the moment that we heard this shocking news. We felt that the heaven fell on us. Mother and I were shocked and both of us started to cry. The CNN breaking news continued describing the crash into the south Tower. Then we saw how the south and the north towers crashed down one after the other.
We cannot believe that 10 years passed since we were informed by your dear wife- Sigal, that you have been on 9/11/01 at WTC. You were brutally killed with 3000 other civilians- fellows Americans by the Al-Qaeda War Criminals in the Mega-Terror vicious attack on a civilian building. This was a Crime against Humanity. This year we were witnesses that some late justice has been achieved by killing Osama Bin-Laden.
This year Mother, your brother Yishai and myself visited NYC on 9/11/12 to take part in the inauguration ceremony of 9/11 Memorial with President Obama and George W. Bush. We also were invited to a special concert of the Chelsea Symphony Orchestra that performed for the first time on 17.9.11 a musical creation composed by your brother, called the”Golden Sky”.. Yishai did it to your memory and to the memory of all thousands victims.
Our beloved Hagay,
We cannot believe that you will not to be with us any more physically. However, your memory has been and will be preserved by every one of our greater family and by your many friends.. You have been a most loyal son, a loyal husband to Sigal and a loving father to Roy, 5, and Naomi, 3. Now they are 15 and 13 .
You were loved and appreciated by your parents, by your brother Yishai and your sister Pazit and their families as well as by your friends. All of the greater Shefi family admired you for your distinguished achievements in all aspects of your life: You were born in Tel-Aviv, Israel. You started to show interest in business, when we lived in Maoz-Aviv, at the age of five (5) !! by “negotiating” terms and conditions with a grocery’s owner (without disclosing us), offering him that you would be ready to guard that every customer that will take ice-cream from the box will not “forget” to pay. You demanded, and so was agreed, that in consideration you will receive one ice-cream for every day. You didn’t ask us for our permission weather to do it and just reported us, only a f t e r you summed up the Ts&Cs. You requested from mother that as from that conclusion of the “transaction” you “in a speed”, “to be f r e e for my work”. When you reached the age of 11, you started a new business of selling, very early in the morning, fresh rolls to over 1000 families in our new residential area-Ramat- Ilan. you also hired, a dedicative classmate to assist you in this business. After 3 years you sold him the business for a high price and bought your motorcycle and at the age of 17- your first car. You were an excellent soccer player as a goal keeper of “Hapoel P-T” youngsters beginning at the age of 11. Your team- manager was Avram Grant (later known as the manager of Chelsea Team, U.K). When in your high school, you started to import “rock music”- records from U.K. after receiving requests and money, in advance, from your classmates. Your compulsory service in the Israeli army was postponed since you were admitted to the “Academic Unit”, to enable you to study at Bar-Ian University Economics and Business Administration before you were enlisted to I.D.F. You concluded your studies in 1992 and were awarded BA in Economy and MBA (Magna cum Laude). Parallel, you ended officer’s school as a Distinguished Cadet. Before concluding your military service as a Captain you were awarded in 1992 by the then Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Ehud Barak a “Distinguish Officer Certificate.” You were awarded annually “student prizes” (stipends) from the University. Upon concluding your studies in the University, we were invited by the Speaker of the Knesset (Parliament) for the annual reception to distinguished students of the State of Israel.
Four years after your arrival to U.S.A., at the age of 29, you were appointed as president and C.E.O. of a company. The president of its mother company, Sungard Data Systems (SDS)–Mr. Chris Conde. - most appreciated you and used to call you: "Hagay what a guy!”.
You published many professional articles in US and Israeli newspapers.
All your many friends in the U.S. and in Israel are missing your wisdom, your loyal friendship and your sense of humor.
It has been always said that you were the heart and the dynamo-buster-turbo of every company you were running. All of us in the family will remember you forever and you will continue to be in our hearts as our source of pride. We provided and shall continue to provide Sigal and your kids -- our beloved grandchildren- Roy and Naomi -- the best of our love and care. Your kids are excellent pupils. Roy was awarded in a ceremony, on February 24, 2011, the title of “The Best Pupil of High School.” Your daughter Naomi is very close to achieve it as well.
Since 9/11/01 your father persuaded 10 Mayors in Israel to construct and inaugurate 10 memorials in 10 cities, to commemorate the 2,980 victims of 9/11. Recently your father managed to persuade Bar-Ian University to initiate the construction and the inauguration of the “Hagay Shefi Gate” at the Bar-Ilan University’s Amphitheatre above the “Unity Park”. This ceremony took place, on September 1st, 2010, with the presence of the President of Bar-Ian, the acting US Ambassador. The Dean of School of Business, our greater family, your friends and many guests.
Rest in peace, our beloved and admired Hagay!
Esther and Dov Shefi, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) - Mother and Father