A memorial candle for Holocaust Remembrance Day.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Benjamin Shlezinger, an eighty-two year old man and a Holocaust survivor died Wednesday night as the nation began to mark the Holocaust memorial day, Yom Hashoah.
Shlezinger's family were concerned however that since he has only a small number of relatives his funeral might not be attended by a quorum of ten men and therefore issued a post on Facebook asking people to attend the service, providing the relevant details for the time and place of the funeral.
Their appeal did not go unheard and more than 500 people who saw the post turned up on Thursday morning to the cemetery in Ashdod to pay their respects to Shlezinger and to ensure his funeral had the requisite number of mourners.
The service was held at 9:30a.m , but shortly before the service was completed all those assembled stood for the two minute siren marking Yom Hashoah at 10 a.m.
Among those who attended the funeral was the chairman of the local religious council in Ashdod Ovadiah Dahan, who told the Walla news website that he had heard about the dozens of school children from the city who had attended among the hundreds of people who also answered the family's call and decided to join them
Other mourners came from near and far to attend the funeral.
"I never met him," said one man tearfully. "It's amazing, this is special to the Jewish people, it's sadness wrapped in happiness. This man died but there is happiness because we can see all of the Jewish people coming together. We need to be strong and united and this is what we saw today."
Shlesinger's son eulogized him at the funeral, describing how he had lived in Kishinev, in present day Moldova, and escaped Europe, fleeing to Uzbekistan. His son said however that Shlesinger himself had never revealed much about what had happened to him during the Holocaust.