Community mourns ‘happy and bubbly’ Thalia

THE Jewish community is in mourning following the death of 10-year-old Thalia Hakin, who was killed in Friday’s car ramming attack in Melbourne.

Hakin, a student of Beth Rivkah Ladies College, was with her family on busy Bourke St when a car deliberately rammed into pedestrians, killing five and injuring dozens more.

On Saturday her mother Nathalie remained in intensive care in hospital.

Her sister Maggie, aged 9, also remains in hospital.

Police on Friday shot the 26-year-old occupant of the vehicle, Dimitrious ‘Jimmy’ Gargasoulas, and he was taken to hospital under police guard.

On Monday he was charged with five counts of murder.

Authorities say the incident was not terror-related.

The Hakin sisters have been described as “always happy and bubbly”, with “bright and warm smiles”.

Rabbi Yehoshua Smukler, principal of Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah Colleges, said: “Our hearts are broken at the tragic passing of Thalia.

“Thalia was a well-loved student and friend in the school community. Our deepest sympathies goes out to her family at this most difficult time.

“Our thoughts and Tefillos (prayers), are with all the victims, their families and friends.

“We are providing support and counselling to the school community and our students in dealing with this tragedy.”

Jewish Community Council of Victoria president Jennifer Huppert said the Jewish community is “aghast at the terrible tragedy that unfolded in the CBD”.

“Words cannot convey the sorrow we feel for all the victims and their families, and especially for the loss of Thalia and the devastation of her family,” she said. “A tragedy beyond understanding.”

Tributes have also poured in on social media, with community members saying they are “devastated” and “heartbroken” at the tragedy.

On Sunday night more than 1000 people attended a community memorial and prayer service for Thalia and her family.

“In order to remember beautiful little Thalia, we have to add acts of kindness to our lives,” Rabbinical Council of Victoria president Rabbi Daniel Rabin said at the service. Among those leading prayers were Thalia’s Beth Rivkah College classmates.

A fundraising campaign has been set up for the family.

To donate, visit www.mycause.com.au/page/143703/family-devastation-in-melbourne-rampage.

AJN STAFF