Nava (or Naava) Applebaum (also spelled Appelbaum) (Hebrew: נאווה אפלבאום; c. 1983 – September 9, 2003) was a 20-year-old Israeli-American woman who was murdered together with her father on the evening before her wedding by a Palestinian suicide bomber.
Journalist Yossi Klein Halevi described the incident as an "epic tragedy", and wrote: "If a new book of the Bible were ever written about the modern return to Zion, it would have to include the story of the Applebaums."
Nava Applebaum was the eldest daughter of David and Debra Applebaum, the third of six children. Her father, David Applebaum, was a prominent emergency department doctor well known for work on methods for assisting suicide bombing victims. He was born in Detroit, Michigan, and moved to Chicago, Illinois, as a teenager. After being ordained as a rabbi, he attended Northwestern University and graduated with a Masters in Biology. David then attended the University of Toledo Medical Center. He moved to Israel in 1982, and traveled back at times to practice in the United States.
David's daughter Nava was born in Cleveland, Ohio. The family later moved to Israel, where David became chief of the emergency department and trauma services at Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and Nava graduated from Horev Girls High School. Applebaum first met her fiancé, Chanan Sand, when she was 17 and he was 16, at an Ezra religious youth group, where they both served as youth group advisers. A year later they were engaged, but delayed their wedding for two years. As part of her two-year Sherut Leumi service (alternative national service), Applebaum worked with children with cancer. She planned on studying chemistry or genetics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and her goal was to find a cure for cancer.
A few hours before the bombing, on September 9, Applebaum attended the mikveh (ritual bath), as required by Halakha (Jewish law) for all brides prior to their wedding. She then began helping her family with the wedding arrangements, when her father decided to take her out for a "father-daughter" talk before her wedding. They went to Café Hillel on Emek Refaim Street, in Jerusalem.
On the day of the bombing, September 9, security guards in the vicinity of Café Hillel were told to be on the lookout for a suicide bomber. At around 11:20 pm, a security guard stationed at a nearby pizza parlor noticed a man walking by with a bulky square-shaped box under his shirt. He yelled at the man to stop, but the man refused. The security guard did not want to shoot him in the back, for fear that it would detonate the bomb. A few seconds later, the suicide bomber detonated the bomb close to the entrance of Café Hillel. Nava and her father were entering the cafe at that time. Nava was killed together with her father. She was dead by the time she was reached by paramedics.
Applebaum's fiancé, Chanan Sand, collapsed in the emergency department of Shaare Zedek Medical Center upon hearing that his fiancée had not survived. She was buried the next day adjacent to her father in the Har HaMenuchot cemetery, in the western part of Jerusalem.
Hundreds of friends and relatives traveling to Israel for the wedding arrived to find that they would be attending her funeral instead, on the day she was supposed to get married. Sand attended the funeral, and placed in her grave the wedding ring he had planned on giving her at the wedding.
A few days after the bombing, another engaged couple decided to hold their Sheva Brachot celebrations at the site of the suicide attack. The choice of venue was intended "as a sign of 'continuity'". The celebration was video-conferenced to numerous Jewish communities around the world.
Numerous memorials and charity projects were undertaken in memory of Nava Applebaum. The top of Applebaum's unworn wedding gown was made into a covering for the Torah ark at Rachel's Tomb. It is inscribed: "Nava Applebaum, A Bride for Eternity." The skirt of the wedding gown was formed into a wedding canopy for other couples to stand beneath during their chuppah ceremony.
Dr. Paige Applebaum Farkas, a Teaneck, New Jersey, resident and second cousin to David Applebaum, and her brother, Dr. Eric Applebaum, also of Teaneck, raised money to build a special room for brides at the mikvah in the Har Homa neighborhood of Jerusalem.
A memorial service honoring Nava and her father held in New Jersey one year after their deaths drew over a thousand people.
All Bat Mitzvah girls (12-year-old girls, who at that age become responsible for their actions according to Jewish law) of Moriah School in Englewood, New Jersey receive a book of Psalms inscribed in the memory of Nava Applebaum.
In 2006, Nava's brother Yitzchak was in medical school. At that time, her sister Shira was a paramedic planning on attending medical school. When Shira got married she used Nava's wedding gown as part of the canopy.
Applebaum's fiancé, Chanan Sand, was unable to date for several years after her death because of his grief, but became engaged in 2009. Members of the Applebaum family attended the engagement party.
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