At last week students’ event sponsored by Nefesh Yehudi, celebrity musician Ishay Ribo wowed his audience with his heartrending song L’habia Ahava (To Express Love). The lyrics were composed by the late Danielle Sonnenfeld, who perished in a road accident two-and-a-half years ago. Danielle was all of 20 when she was killed on her way home from volunteering in the Oncology Department at Schneider Children’s Hospital in Tel Aviv.

“Two years ago, I received a phone call from Danielle’s mom, who told me all about the tragedy that the family had endured. She mentioned that Danielle had composed many beautiful poems and asked if I’d be interested in using the lyrics and putting them to a melody. I’ve had many such requests in the past, but when I read the compositions, I was amazed—particularly because of the age of the composer. 

"One of the songs that caught my eye was written by Danielle when she was all of eleven and a half. At that age, I could barely dream of writing anything so profound or precise. It was this song that I selected for my composition. We sang it for the first time some two years ago at an event marking the publication of a book written in memory of Danielle. It was a great privilege for me to compose this song, because in the lyrics I revealed the beautiful, outstanding character of Danielle,” Ribo shared at the event.

The song L’habia Ahava, written by the young Danielle Sonnenfeld as an expression of her love for her mother, was sung by Ribo. Translation of lyrics:

If only [I] could express

My love to you in writing;

The sun would burst forth mightily

On a gray autumn day.

If only [I] could express

My love in letters and notes,

Great hope would be ignited

In the hearts of all lovers.

If only [I] could express

My love to you in words;

The stars and moon would

Fall into the sea.

But until now, I have yet to find a way

To express how much I love you.

You can only guess

How much I need you.”


The Nefesh Yehudi event was attended by over 60 Israeli students who are participating in the organization’s Elul Journey under the direction of Rabbi Eliyahu Ilani and Mrs. Rivi Kirstein. The event was sponsored by the Danielle Sonnenfeld Foundation which was established by the Sonnenfeld family to perpetuate the legacy of their beloved daughter. This event is only one of over 40 social, medical, and educational initiatives that the Sonnenfeld family has sponsored in Israel in her memory.

Elio Moti Sonnenfeld, Danielle’s father, remarked that evening: “Aside from her constant giving, love of mankind and supreme modesty; Danielle was also exceptionally talented in art and composition. We are striving to perpetuate the wonderful path that she followed during her lifetime by promoting and supporting a wide variety of functions. During this month of Elul, we—and especially those of us who are fortunate to be present in the Holy City of Jerusalem—feel that something is changing. It’s in the air. At this time of year, every Jew draws closer to his roots; every person serves G-d in his unique way:  With a smile to a friend; with help to another person. Each and every day we must do something to justify the fact that we are living here.”