Mumbai attack orphan to be among beacon-lighters

Others will include 16-year-old volunteer firefighter, Auschwitz survivor Michael Goldman Gilad, who joined police and interrogated Eichmann.

April 5, 2011 02:25
3 minute read.
Mumbai attack orphan Moishe Holzberg

Mumbai attack orphan Moishe Holzberg 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Four-year-old Moishe Holzberg, whose parents Gavriel and Rivka, Chabad emissaries in Mumbai, were killed in a terror attack in November 2008, will light one of the 12 beacons of hope and triumph this Independence Day, the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry announced this week.

Moishe Holzberg, who is being raised by his maternal grandparents, Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg and his wife Yehudit, was chosen along with his grandfather to light the beacon at the Mount Herzl military cemetery, as representatives of the Chabad light that emanates into the darkness of the world.

But theirs is not the only tragedy that will be remembered at the Mount Herzl gathering this year. There will also be the Carmel fires, with their horrendous death toll, and the courage and humanity of a mother whose 15-year-old son died from a rare genetic disease.

The Holocaust continues to haunt Israel, and its presence will be felt at the beaconlighting ceremony, as will the long period of persecution of Soviet Jewry.

Among the other beaconlighters is Sa’ar Shapira, an 11th-grade student at the Reali School in Haifa. Shapira was a volunteer firefighter along with his friend Elad Riven, 16, who ran out to help fight the fire on the Carmel and paid with his life. Because the majority of those who died in the fire were Prisons Service officers and cadets, Shapira will be joined in the ceremony by Arij Rahab, the first female Druse officer in the Prisons Service.

Fifteen months ago, Orit Dror of Kibbutz Lavi lost her 15-year-old son Netzer. Without hesitation, the grieving mother made the decision to donate his organs to enable others to live. As a result, she saved the lives of three people, one of them a 13-yearold girl who suffered from cystic fibrosis.

Holocaust survivor Michael Goldman Gilad, who still bears the Auschwitz number 161135 on his arm, joined the police force after coming to Israel, and headed the team that interrogated Adolf Eichmann.

He also witnessed Eichmann’s execution. Goldman Gilad symbolizes the rising of the nation from the ashes.

Physicist and former Refusenik Zeev Dashevsky realized that most immigrants from the former Soviet Union lacked Jewish and Zionist knowledge. While in the USSR, he was a clandestine Hebrew teacher; had he been caught, he would surely have been imprisoned. In Israel, he established the Mahanayim institution to teach Jewish and Zionist values to new immigrants.

Col. (res.) Omer Bar-Lev, who was a General Staff commander in the IDF, today chairs Aharei (After Me), an organization dedicated to persuading youth from peripheral communities to join the army.

The other beacon-lighters are former MK Matityahu Drobeles, who headed the Settlement Department of the Jewish Agency and worked tirelessly to establish new settlements throughout the country; Hosha Friedman Ben- Shalom, a colonel in the reserves who does 165 days a year of reserve duty and heads the pre-military training school Beit Israel, which has a mixed religious-and-secular student body; Zahava Dankner, who engages in numerous volunteer activities and, like her business tycoon son Nochi Dankner, donates money to many causes, particularly those involving southern communities under threat from Gaza; Gadi Bashari, founder of the Sweet Heart organization, which assists soldiers, the disabled, and new immigrants of every background; Yobi Teshuma, who immigrated from Ethiopia in 1984 and in 2005 founded Friends in Nature, an organization committed to helping Ethiopian immigrants; and American immigrant Barbara Goldstein, the deputy director of the Hadassah Office in Israel, who has been a fervent Zionist all her life.

Hadassah, which will celebrate its centenary on Purim 2012, has launched its centenary year, in honor of which Goldstein is lighting the beacon.

The overall theme of Israel’s 62nd Independence Day is one of mutual responsibility. It has always been a given that Jews are responsible for one another, and even more so in the Jewish State.

Independence Day this year falls on May 9 – the day after VE Day, which coincides this year with Remembrance Day for the Fallen.

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