aaci memorial 298.88.
(photo credit: Ryan Nadel)
David Lelchook, 52, originally from Newton, Massachusetts, was killed by a Hizbullah rocket at Kibbutz Sa'ar on August 2.
His is one of nine lives that were commemorated Wednesday at the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel's annual ceremony remembering North Americans who fell in the defense of Israel or in acts of terror.
Lelchook was killed while riding his bicycle in his front yard, 26 years after he made aliya.
The ceremony was held at the AACI Memorial/Jewish National Fund Forest near the Sha'ar Hagai Junction west of Jerusalem. Seven of those memorialized this year were killed while serving in the IDF and two died in terrorist attacks.
"We come here to remember collectively, to remember the ultimate price [paid by] our members... In sorrow we weep for those lost, in sympathy we reach out to grieve with their loved ones. We join in mourning each [one] lost," AACI National President Evelyn Grossberg told the close to 250 people attendees. Approximately 100 North American participants from the Young Judaea Jerusalem Studies program joined AACI members and the families of the fallen at the ceremony.
Brief presentation were made on the lives of the nine victims, and wreaths were laid by representatives of the IDF, the US and Canadian governments, and the NATIV and Young Judaea youth movements.
There are more than 300 hundred names on the memorial. "When we first started the memorial it was a little stone. Now it is a large slab," said Marcia Lewinson, president of AACI National Seniors. "I wish we could have a year where we just remember the past and not add new names," she said as tears welled in her eyes.
For "me, this is an opportunity to recognize all of the people who have had the courage to make aliya. It's a memorial to their courage and their willingness to be here," said Elan Kahalnik, 18, from Dallas, a participant in the Young Judaea program.
US army World War II veteran Ivan Goldstein, who immigrated from Denver 23 years ago, said, "The event shows support for all of Israel."
Goldstein, who was a prisoner of war in Germany and has grandchildren serving in the IDF, said, "It's sad that for 58 years all we have been doing is [holding] memorials."