No one can tell David Rubin there’s no such thing as miracles.
Thanks to a miracle, both he and his then 3-year-old son, Ruby, survived a brutal terrorist attack seven years ago near his hometown of Shiloh, Israel. It was that same miracle that led him to start an institute and fund therapy to children victimized by terror.
“A child can’t just go to a therapist, like an adult would,” he said. “Children need to get it.”
Rubin was in Pittsburgh this week to appear on Cornerstone TeleVision (CTVN) on Thursday, Nov. 13. He is on an American tour promoting his book, “God, Israel & Shiloh,” and generating interest in his institute.
In December 2001, Rubin, at the time, the mayor of Shiloh, was driving home along a dark highway, when as he described it, “the car was hit by a massive hail of bullets. I was shot in the leg; my son was shot in the head.”
The car stalled. With blood gushing from his leg, Rubin tried five to six times to restart the vehicle. Finally the engine came to life, as if nothing were wrong with it all, he said. “I hit the gas as fast as I could to the next town.” He’s sure he was doing 120 miles per hour.
Later at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, he learned that his son’s condition was even more precarious when doctors told him the bullet missed the boy’s brain stem, by just 1 millimeter.
But that’s not the miracle. Days later, while recuperating at Hadassah Ein Kerem, the mechanic working on his car called him. He said it could be fixed, but it would be expensive — something Rubin didn’t care about at all.
Then, after a silence, the mechanic asked him a question: “Why can’t we start that car?”
It turns out that police, the tow truck operator nor the mechanic could start that same vehicle that roared to life and carried Rubin and his son to safety. It just died after its passengers were safe.
“It gives me chills to this day,” Rubin said.
A native of Brooklyn, and a former teacher in the New York City Public Schools, Rubin realized how Shiloh had a “disproportionate” number of terror victims among its children, which led him to establish the Shiloh Institute and the Shiloh Children’s Fund. The organization supports therapeutic, educational, and recreational projects for children in Israel – particularly in the Shiloh bloc of communities.
Since the accident, Ruby, now 10 has made a full recovery, his father said. He goes to school and plays sports like any normal boy, but aside from one brief trip to the United States, doesn’t get involved in his father’s work himself.
“I try to let him be a regular child,” Rubin said. “But he knows what I do, and he knows he has become something of a symbol.”
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)