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Bomb victim remembered in Boston as dedicated to her religion
By Robert O'Neill, Associated Press, 08/04/02
BOSTON -- Friends and relatives packed a Boston temple on Sunday to remember Janis Ruth Coulter as a woman who loved her adopted religion and lived a zestful life cut short by a terrorist's bomb in Jerusalem last week.
"What Janis accomplished in her 37 years most people do not achieve in a lifetime," said Rabbi Barbara Penzner told about 400 people at the memorial service at Temple Hillel B'nai Torah in Boston's West Roxbury neighborhood. "This room is too full of tears to leave room for politics."
Coulter was one of five Americans killed on July 31 when a bomb exploded in a crowded cafeteria at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Two Israelis were also killed, and four other Americans were wounded.
Coulter, an assistant director of graduate studies for the Hebrew University's Rothberg International School in New York, had been escorting a group of 20 American students to Israel.
Coulter, who grew up an Episcopalian but converted to Judaism in 1996, would have turned 37 on Monday.
Before she left for Israel, she talked about the ongoing violence, saying, "when it's my time to go, it's my time to go. I don't have any control," recalled her sister, Dianne Coulter Albert.
The Israeli consul general in Boston, Itzhak Levanon, attended the memorial service, and assured the family that the Israeli government would seek to bring the perpetrators to justice.
After graduating from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1991, she went on to Denver's Institute for Islamic-Judaic Studies, where she was about to finish her master's thesis on the Book of Ruth.
Three years ago, she moved to New York to take a job with Hebrew University's admissions department. She also had spent an entire year at Hebrew University, pursuing her master's degree and learning Hebrew.
Penzner said Coulter once stated: "I would rather die as a Jew in Israel than be killed in some random violence in the United States
Relatives and friends described her scholarliness and her professionalism, but above all her kindliness and her passion for life.
"It doesn't seem possible that someone who surely believed 'to thine own self be true' had her life so tragically taken from her just as she was really enjoying being Janis," said her friend, Julie Bailit.