JERUSALEM – Mary Jean Gardner, a 59-year-old British national who was studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was killed when a bomb exploded across from the Jerusalem Convention Center, near the Central Bus Station.
Born in a small town in Northern Scotland, Mary Gardner was passionate about languages, which brought her to Jerusalem this past January. Her latest project was to help translate the Bible into the Ife tribal language, which is spoken in Benin and Togo.
Gardner, an evangelical Christian and bible translator, had just spent 20 years in Togo when she arrived in Israel to enroll in a six-month program that the Hebrew University’s Rothberg International School runs together with the Home for Bible Translators and Scholars in Jerusalem.
“She was a quiet, sensitive and introverted person, highly motivated. She had a seriousness and commitment that is to be admired. Language was really her life,” said Miriam Ronning, a Bible translator from Finland who co-founded the center in 1995.
Eddie Arthur, executive director of Wycliffe Bible Translators, said: “Mary worked with Wycliffe in Togo since 1989 where she was part of a team translating the New Testament into the language called Ife. “The [translation] was finished in 2009 and Mary had then gone on to work helping other people. She was in Israel for six months studying Hebrew in order to go back to Togo to translate the Old Testament.”