Lifestyle Obituaries

West Hartford Native Elan Ganeles Killed in Terrorist Attack in Israel

Elan Ganeles. Photo credit: Todd Fairchild (2014) we-ha.com file photo

Elan Ganeles, a native of West Hartford who has been living in Israel, was killed Monday in the West Bank.

By Ronni Newton

A 27-year-old man who grew up in West Hartford was killed in Israel Monday in what Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford Present and Chief Executive Officer David Waren called a “senseless and brutal murder at the hands of terrorist.”

The Jerusalem Post reported that Elan Ganeles was a dual citizen of the United States and Israel, and said the shooting occurred “near the Beit HaArava Junction on Highway 90 in the Jordan Valley, near the Palestinian city of Jericho in the eastern West Bank.” The area is a well-traveled route to Masada.

Ganeles was in Israel to attend a wedding, according to a statement posted on the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford’s website.

Elan Ganeles. Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford website photo

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides confirmed the incident Monday afternoon on Twitter.

According to a report in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “gunmen drove up to the Ganeles’ car and shot at him, critically injuring him, and also fired at other cars.” He was reportedly treated by paramedics and brought to Hadassah Medical Center at Har Zofim where he was pronounced dead.

The Jerusalem Post report said that the terrorists fled the area, abandoning and setting fire to their vehicle before fleeing in another vehicle.

“Elan, who grew up in West Hartford, was murdered in a brutal act of terrorism today in Israel,” Waren said in an email Monday. “The violence in Israel has taken countless lives both young and old, but when it’s someone from our community, the shock and sense of loss runs even deeper. Elan and his family were members of Young Israel in West Hartford.”

Elan Ganeles is the son of Dr. Carolyn Ganeles, a pediatrician, and Dr. Andrew Ganeles, a doctor of internal medicine, was a 2014 graduate of Hebrew High School, now part of New England Jewish Academy.

He was one of the “Terrific Teens” profiled in West Hartford Magazine and We-Ha.com in 2014, just after his graduation from high school. At the time, Ganeles was planning to travel to Israel for a year for a year-long spiritual program, and had deferred his enrollment at the University of Michigan. According to his LinkedIn profile, he instead remained in Israel, working on a kibbutz as well as serving as a computer programmer with the Israeli Defense Forces from July 2016 until August 2018.

In the fall of 2018, Ganales returned to the United States to attend Columbia University, and graduated in 2022 with a BA in sustainable development and neuroscience.

Growing up in West Hartford, Ganeles was a volunteer with Jewish Family Services, and at his synagogue. He was also involved in many high school activities, he told the interviewer: “I was on the ultimate Frisbee team all four years, played sax and piano. I was part of the Junior Statesmen of America club, the Israel Advocacy club and outside of school was involved with the civil air patrol air force auxiliary leadership program.”

According to Waren, the funeral will be held in Israel and the family will return to West Hartford to sit shiva. Young Israel of West Hartford has started a fund to support the Ganeles family, and more information can be found here.

Almost exactly 27 years ago, West Hartford resident Matt Eisenfeld, 25 and his fiancé, Sara Duker, 23, were killed in terrorist a terrorist bus bombing in Jerusalem right before Purim. Eisenfeld was a second-year rabbinical student attending a program in Jerusalem, the AP reported at the time.

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