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Janis Ruth Coulter
Jul 31, 2002 | 22nd of Av, 5762 | כ״ב באב תשס״ב
July 31, 2002 – Janis Ruth Coulter, 36 from New York was one of nine people killed when a bomb exploded in the Frank Sinatra cafeteria on the Hebrew University Mt. Scopus campus.
Shortly after 13:30, while about 100 people were eating lunch, a bomb exploded in the Frank Sinatra cafeteria on the Hebrew University Mt. Scopus in Jerusalem. The explosive device was apparently planted inside the cafeteria which was gutted by the explosion. Nine people were killed and 85 were injured. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.
Janis Coulter was herself a former Hebrew University student, having studied Jewish civilization after graduating from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1991. She was raised an Episcopalian but converted to Judaism in 1996. Friends said she had been influenced by a lecture on the Holocaust given by author Eli Wiesel.
She had already learned Hebrew and enrolled in a religious studies program at the University of Denver when she approached Rabbi Barbara Penzner at the Temple Hillel B’nai Torah in West Roxbury to guide her through the spiritual process. “Her grandmother was Jewish,” Penzner said, “She saw it as going back to her roots. Intellectually, Judaism appealed to her – it made sense to her and that she found it beautiful. Janis was an inspiration to everyone she met” Penzer added.
Coulter was about ready to finish her master’s thesis on the Book of Ruth at the University of Denver’s Institute for Islamic-Judaic Studies.
For the past three years Janis served as assistant director of the Hebrew University’s foreign students department in New York. Janis arrived in Israel just one day before the bombing to accompany a group of 19 American students who arrived to attend classes at the unversity. She was killed while having lunch with them in the cafeteria.
Janis Ruth Coulter was buried in Boston, Massachusetts where she is survived by her father and sister.
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