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Romi Mayes, sister of Fern Shawna Rykiss


by Rhonda Spivak, October 19, 2011

[Editor's note: The Winnipeg Jewish Review has received a number of comments in regard to  the Shalit prisoner deal and  Fern Shawna Rykiss  that have been posted in our editorial/letters section. Please go to that section to read them] 

Last  Wednesday, when Jeremy Feuer  first notified the Winnipeg Jewish Review of the fact  Fern Shawna Rykiss's murderer,  Abd al-Hadi Ghanayem, who was sentenced to 16 life terms in Israel, was being released as part of the Shalit prisoner swap, I gasped.

Just before Erev Sukkot last Wednesdy, I posted this news,[to the best of my knowledge we were the first media outlet to post this information]. My fingers were shaking as I posted this news, and made thE connection that  Joyce Rykiss, who advertises regularly on this website, was her mother--I had not made the connection before (although I probably sould have).

Later I did not try to contact  Rykiss's family, out of respect for their privacy.

However, the Winnipeg  Free Press, in a story published yesterday, October 18, 2011, did contact  them  both and I wanted to include ther responses for those who did not see the  Winnipeg Free Press article.

"I was told by two Israeli officials who came to see me after the funeral that he would not be released because he deliberately killed the people," Joyce Rykiss said in an email to the Free Press.

According to the Free Press Shawna's sister, singer-songwriter Romi Mayes, was outraged at the news.

"I'm happy for Gilad Shalit and his family, but how is no one thinking about the 1,000 kamikaze murderers... that are being set free back out on the streets due to a technicality?" Mayes wrote to the Free Press. "It's an embarrassment to any justice system. I'm sure Gilad won't want any new blood on his hands, but I would think the odds of at least one of those prisoners repeat-offending are pretty... good."

Bob Freedamn, CEO of the  Jewish Federation  of Winnipeg told the  Free Press "I was one of the two people who had to tell Shawna's mother she was killed," Bob Freedman recalled. "I remember it like it was yesterday." Freedman went to their home in the middle of the night to tell Joyce Rykiss of this tragic news.

"I can't imagine how she feels about it 22 years after being told he will never be released," Freedman told the  Free Press.

To access the complete article in the Free Press, go to:

To read the thoughts of other parents who lost loved ones who were on Bus no 405 with Fern Shawn Rykiss, go to an article in  YNET just posted today,,7340,L-4135891,00.html

 At, 1:22 PM on 10/18/2011,  ex-Winnipegger Jenni Heltay Menashe wrote in to the  Free Press to comment on their story, saying:

"I'm an ex Winnipeger living in Israel. Baruch Goldstein I can list you thousands of Arab Massacres of Jews; The Park Hotel, Sabarro, Hebron in 1929, Cafe Hillel, etc.....

Jewish law says that to "Save one life is to save the world" that is what we did today.

You can't understand it unless you live here. We are all one nation, one tribe, one family. We don't have an army, we have brothers, fathers, husbands and cousins who are our army.

We love our people, even one, more than we hate our enemies. We are willing to make the painful choice to free these animals in order to get one Gilad back. At least give us the credit we have earned. Take a look at the celebrations and vows to kill more Jews and you'll know what the Arabs value."

Former Winnipegger, Jackie Luffman, responded on  October 14, 2011 to our article   [RE: ONE OF TERRORISTS BEING RELEASED IN SHALIT DEAL MURDERED WINNIPEG'S FERN SHAUNA RYKISS Z'L, ]

 "It’s a horrible situation. I have never in my life been pro capital punishment but I wonder if some of these terrorists deserved it. Certainly Fern's murderer did."



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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.