Zechusim for Meron Victim, Dovi Steinmetz, z”l // Hundreds of thousands of voices in cities all over the world are declaring “Ani Ma’amin”

By Devorie Kreiman

Lag BaOmer 2021
The last time Tzvi Steinmetz saw his brother Dovi was high up in the crowd in Meron, smiling and holding two thumbs up.
Dovi was so enthusiastic about being in Meron that he’d danced so much that he’d twisted his ankle. As he was being carried away on a stretcher he was still swaying, and the Hatzalah medics had to ask him to “settle down.” They wanted to bring him to a hospital for an X-ray, but Dovi insisted that his foot, which was iced and bandaged, was fine.
He called his father Shloimi to let him know that he was staying for the hadlakah. His last words were, “Tatty, don’t worry. I’m okay.”
In one of the Lag BaOmer videos taken right before the tragedy, the thousands of people in the crowd are singing “Ani Ma’amin,” and Dovi is pouring a bottle of oil near the Toldos Aharon hadlakah.
Shloimi Steinmetz says, “When I heard what happened in Meron I didn’t worry about Dovi because he had a VIP pass, which meant he was on top, nowhere near the narrow passageway. I tried to call him a few times and didn’t get through, but I figured there wasn’t any service.”
Dovi had extra passes and wanted to share them with some of the other bachurim. His friend offered to bring them over to them because Dovi had hurt his foot, but Dovi insisted on going himself, and limped toward the exit.
At 11 p.m. on Thursday night in Montreal, Shuly Vorhand, a Chai Lifeline board member and community askan who sat next to Shloimi in shul, rang the doorbell of the Steinmetz home.
Shloimi was surprised. “I asked him why he was there. I told him there was no reason to worry and he should go to sleep.”
Shuly stayed.
As the hours passed and Shloimi didn’t hear from Dovi, he made more and more phone calls to relatives and friends, searching for anyone who might have seen his son. Someone was sent to check Dovi’s dirah at the Mir. Every so often, there was a spark of hope—someone who’d been spotted with Dovi—but then it fell through.
Shuly says, “Hundreds of people were looking for him. That’s how klal Yisrael comes together. We were in touch with Misaskim, Amudim, Ezer Mizion, ZAKA, MDA and Hatzalah. We called the hospitals every half hour.”
“When we find Dovi, he’ll be the most wanted person in Israel,” Shloimi told his wife, Feige.
Shuly is trained to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. He collected the family’s passports, arranged ishurim and booked flights to Israel.
At five a.m. Shloimi went to the mivkah. He took his tallis and tefillin from shul to daven at home so that he would be reachable. He says, “I heard that everyone who had to be notified had already been notified. We hadn’t been notified, which was good. There was a list, and Dovi wasn’t on it. We didn’t know that there was more than one list.”
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