IDF Sgt. Shlomo Rindenow.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
“He was always in love with Israel,” said Yocheved Rindenow, Shlomo Rindenow’s older sister.
“He didn’t know Hebrew because he didn’t grow up here, so he came here, he taught himself Hebrew, and joined the unit that he was really passionate about.”
The Passaic, New Jersey, native’s dream of a life in Israel was cut short Sunday when he was killed in a military accident along the northern border. Sgt. Rindenow, who served in the 410 Combat Engineering Brigade, was 20.
Shlomo’s older brother, Jeff Tower, said Shlomo was the fifth sibling in his family to volunteer in an IDF combat role.
“It happened at 7 a.m. Israel time, and we were informed about it four hours later,” Tower told Arutz Sheva. He said that Israeli consular officials accompanied by a Passaic rabbi came to the family home to break the devastating news.
Yocheved last saw her little brother two weeks ago at a family wedding, remarking that she’ll never forget “his smile, his laugh, a great sense of humor.”
Shlomo’s warm personality was remembered by family friends who said his happy spirit made everyone around him feel loved. A childhood friend added that they celebrated Purim together every year, and the last time they saw each other was right before he left for the army.
“He connected well with people of all kinds,” said a source close to the family. “All ages, all religions... He had smile for everyone.”
His commitment to strong relationships was evident through decisions like not having a Facebook account, according to his sister Yocheved.
“I think he made one but never used it because for him he was like ‘If I want to be in touch with my friends, then I’ll just pick up the phone and call them,’” she said.
Engaging with the world around him was one of Shlomo’s passions.
Yocheved chuckled as she recalled his pension for gaining knowledge.
“He loved to have conversations for hours. He always had a 1,000-page book that he could flip through.”
Shlomo lived on Kibbutz Sde Yoav, and soon after news of his death, Kibbutzim Movement spokesman Yair Paz expressed his condolences for the family.
“Shlomo is one of 1,000 lone soldiers who are embraced in the kibbutzim, made aliya in order to serve the state of Israel, and protect its citizens,” said Paz. “That is true Zionism. The kibbutz movement lost one of its son’s today.”
His brother Jeff reiterated Shlomo’s dedication to his nation, adding that he was “100 percent committed to the army.”
“Our family will be flying into Israel tonight,” he continued, saying there was no doubt his brother would be buried in Israel. “He sacrificed for the land. He’ll be buried in the land.”