This article appeared in the Jewish Press newspaper.
So Many Heroes
My dear friends in America,
We have not met but I would like to share my story with you. On Yom Hashoah, April, 9 2002, my son Amit (may Hashem avenge his blood) died in Jenin during Operation Defensive Shield.
Amit was killed in combat by terrorists while trying desperately to rescue his wounded and murdered soldiers from the area. During that horrific event in Jenin, 13 soldiers died as heroes, all Kiddush Hashem. These soldiers gave back to the Tzahal (Israeli Defense Forces) the most sacred value -- that no soldier will be left behind. Because of their determined fighting and their audacious and fierce will in trying to save their wounded friends, they received an honorable mention from the Major General.
My dear Amit was raised and brought up with the ethical traditional Jewish values of giving, sacrifice, love for Klal Yisrael and an abiding love for Eretz-Yisrael. Amit spent his 3 year tour of service as a combat soldier in the Givati brigade and served in Lebanon and Gaza. Amit was released from in July 2001, and 8 months later was called in with ''Tzav 8'', the term given to reserves called up during an emergency. Amit reported for duty. After 9 days of combat in Jenin, Amit was killed by terrorist bullets, while rescuing the wounded under fire.
Amit expressed his love for Eretz Yisrael with 30 songs he wrote and composed. The last one, "A Piece of Heaven", was written 30 days before he died. It ends with the words:
''If I had a piece of heaven,
a piece of land and sand.
In order to protect it,
I would have done everything.''
Amit not only said but lived the words of his song. In Jenin, he did everything, and gave everything for Eretz Yisrael. He was 22 years old.
Amit has 2 siblings (they should live and be well until 120), Yael and Ron. Amit was their beloved older brother and the three were very close. We were a happy family. When Amit died, everything changed. It was as if time had stopped. Can you imagine a pain so strong it felt like you could touch it? We didn‘t know how to go on. The loss of Amit was a loss, not only for us, but for our extended family that had lost a nephew, a grandson, a treasured friend.
My husband and I could not stop asking ourselves how we could commemorate and perpetuate Amit‘s memory. What could we do for this dear wonderful human being, our Amit, who brought so much happiness and nachas to his family & friends? How could we honor his memory while finding the strength to go on for Yael and Ron who needed us more than ever?
Amit sacrificed himself Kiddush Hashem. He fought because of his strong understanding that WE DO NOT HAVE ANOTHER COUNTRY. A soldier''s fight against terrorism will never be in vain. To do so is a sacred duty to our country, our land, our home. Amit believed we all have an obligation to protect Israel however we are able.
We had 2 choices; concentrate on the loss and mourning of Amit''s death or continue in Amit‘s way - by giving to and loving others. Had we asked Amit what we should do, he would have said, choose life.
We have made a commitment to help wounded soldiers and the families of fallen soldiers. By doing this, we feel we are perpetuating Amit‘s mission. It will always be very difficult for us to accept his loss and our yearning to hug him is always strong. But, we have found renewed strength and comfort in helping others. We feel that Amit is with us constantly, confirming our will to do this.
We were very lucky to have met a wonderful person who is all about chesed and who has encouraged and enabled us to fulfill our new mission. His name is Zalman Indig and he is the director of a very important organization called ALL4ISRAEL in the United States. Zalman and his volunteer partners are trying very hard to assist as many families in Israel as possible. They help civilians affected by terrorism, soldiers, displaced families, and even schools that are in distress.
Zalman calls me often to ask how we are doing. During these calls, he constantly asks; what is the situation of the wounded soldiers from Lebanon and Gaza? How are their families managing? Do they need financial assistance? My husband Yitzik and I feel like All4Israel‘s "liaisons" to our son‘s comrades in the Israeli army.
We have something in common, a need to strengthen our ties with our brothers and sisters in need. Like me, he is especially anxious to aide the families of fallen and wounded soldiers. Unfortunately, there are so many to help.
With Zalman‘s help, we are B''H able to hug and strengthen other families, who either lost their loved ones or their loved ones have been wounded. We have also been able to reach out to families forced to leave their homes in the north of Israel during the Hezbollah attacks from Lebanon. These families need support, both emotionally and financially.
Last month, Zalman came to Israel to distribute funds and express his support in person. His goal was to meet with as many families and soldiers as possible. I asked if I could organize a get-together with families of fallen soldiers and for the wounded soldiers from the recent war in Lebanon and Zalman immediately agreed.
Zalman, together with his wife and children, hosted a wonderful evening. The atmosphere was great and for a while, everyone was able to lay aside their grief and worry. After dinner, Zalman gave Chanukah Gelt to the children who lost their fathers in Lebanon. I think the children were given a gift that they will take with them always-- the feeling that there is a person whom they don‘t know, but who is thinking about them, and treating them as their fathers would have.
I wish you could have been at the restaurant that evening. There was laughter and tears, encouragement and strengthening. It was very evident how much these families and the soldiers need this connection and all that it brings with it. Over the course of a dinner they learned that they are not forgotten. They learned there are Jews they will never meet who keep them constantly in their thoughts and prayers.
It is an amazing realization "knowing that over the ocean, there is a Jewish community who is concerned and care deeply about us. There are people who assist and help without being asked. This knowledge enables everyone here to go on", not to forget our losses but to find the strength to continue with our lives.
I spent a lot of time with Zalman during his visit, accompanying him on his mission. When we visited the homes of the families whose soldiers were wounded or died, it was as if an aura of comfort descended on the homes. The families were so happy to welcome us and share their stories. For me, sharing even a tiny piece of their pain seemed to make mine lighter. We visited families from morning to night, offering our solidarity and support. With each visit, I felt renewed and more determined to continue this work.
There is one visit I will never forget. We went to the home of Daniel Gomez''s (z"l) family. Daniel Gomez was a pilot who died when his helicopter crashed during the war in Lebanon. Daniel left behind a pregnant wife. She gave birth to a boy 5 months after the tragedy. We visited his newborn son and his widow at their home. The excitement was so strong and the baby looks so much like his daddy, the pilot.
I saw with my own eyes how a visit from strangers who offer not only tangible support, but emotional comfort, can truly make a difference. I have made a commitment to myself to never forget the feeling I had in the Gomez''s home, the feeling that a kind word to someone who is suffering can help not only that person but yourself as well. You can find real solace and comfort from helping others. I feel strengthened from my efforts to help our soldiers and their families.
Dear community, the bond with you, and with your "messenger of Mitzvah", my dear friend Zalman Indig, is very important for all of us. Sometimes, along with the blessings of living in Eretz Yisrael, there are challenges and difficulties that seem insurmountable.
We all hope that you continue to help and assist, to hug, support and strengthen each and every one of your Jewish brothers and sisters. Eretz Yisrael is yours as well as ours. Our path of faith is the right way. Together, we must remember the heroes who sacrifice everything for our country, whose lives are given Kiddush Hashem, and remember to thank Hashem every day for our many blessings.
Sincerely Yours and with Much Thanks,
Geula Bosidan, Amit‘s Mother
(May Hashem avenge his blood.)