The Goldshmid wedding at Kfar Chabad - Meir and Chaya MushkaAbout 12 or 13 years ago two people walked into my office here in Hebron. The gentleman, older than the woman, introduced himself as Shalom Goldshmid, from Brooklyn, visiting with his daughter from Toronto. When I asked how I could help them, Mr. Goldshmid told me that he had lived in Hebron in 1929, as a young child, and that his father, Rabbi Moshe Goldshmid, had been murdered during the riots and massacre on August 24th. He asked if I could take them to visit his father’s grave at the cemetery.
Remembering back, I recall ‘picking myself up off the floor,’ and proceeded to escort them to the 1929 martyr’s plot at the ancient Jewish cemetery. We found Moshe Goldshimd’s grave and said a few Psalms there. I remember it being quite an emotional moment. It was the first time Bassy, Rabbi Moshe’s granddaughter, had ever visited the site.
When we finished I then asked Shalom Goldshimd if he’d ever visited Tel Rumeida, the Jewish neighborhood adjacent to the cemetery. When he said no, I took them over to see, what was then a neighborhood of seven families, all of whom lived in mobile homes. I described the various families who lived there, and among them, Rabbi Shlomo Ra’anan, grandson of the first Chief Rabbi, Rav Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook. (Rabbi Ra’anan was later murdered by an Arab terrorist in his home.) Mr. Goldshmid exclaimed, “I have a cousin who is the dean of one of Rav Kook’s yeshivas, but I don’t remember his name.” I started listing Rabbis from various yeshivas and reached Rav Zalman Melamed, Dean of the Beit El yeshiva. “That’s him, Rav Melamed. He’s my cousin.”
With that I walked down and knocked on the door of the home next to the Ra’anans, then the home of Rabbi Hillel and Naomi Horowitz. I told Naomi that she had a long-lost cousin visiting. Naomi Horowitz is Rav Zalman Melamed’s daughter.
Over the years, my family has become very close with the Goldshmid family. Shalom Goldshmid spent Shabbat with us on the anniversary of the riots and described to me, in great detail, the events that occurred in his home that terrible Shabbat in 1929. He recalled that many neighbors hid in his home, on the second floor of a two family house. The first floor was occupied by Arabs.
Moshe Goldshmid''s injured wife and daughterWhen Arab rioters tried to break into the house, using axes to chop through the wooden door, he held it closed while the others jumped to the ground floor, and were hidden by the Arab family. Only Moshe Goldshmid, his wife and three children remained in the house when the Arabs forcef themselves in. They pulled Rabbi Moshe into a room, tortured him and then killed him. This, despite the fact that he’d been very friendly with Hebron’s Arabs, who would come to him, asking that he settle disputes between themselves. His wife was badly hurt and one of the children also injured. The other two children, including Shalom, hiding under a bed, were unharmed.Moshe Goldshmid''s grave in HebronThe Goldshmid’s told me an interesting story about Rabbi Moshe Goldshmid. The Lubavitcher Rebbi, Rabbi Yosef Yitzhak Shneerson, had been visiting in Israel in the summer of 1929. Being a Chabad Chasid, Rabbi Goldshmid spent time with the Rebbi in Israel. Towards the end of the week, he told the Rebbi that he had to leave back to Hebron, to prepare meat for the community for Shabbat, (as he was a community butcher). He asked the Rebbi to bless him that he should be privileged to meet the Rebbi again. The Rebbe granted his wish, and they parted.
A few minutes later he realized that he’d forgotten a book and returned to take it. Again he parted from the Rebbi. Only later did he realize that the blessing had been fulfilled; he’d again met the Rebbi. But he’d forgotten to again request the same blessing.
A few days later, while saving twenty-one other Jews, Rabbi Moshe Goldshmid was massacred in Hebron.
Rabbi Moshe Goldshmid’s namesake lives with his family here in Israel, and we too have become close friends. The Goldshmid’s are permanent guests with us on Shabbat Chaye Sarah, just about every year.
Shalom Goldshmid, lecturing and at memorial serviceOver five years ago Shalom Goldshmid participated in a national memorial ceremony for his father and 66 other Jews killed here in Hebron. Prior to the ceremony he lectured during a program dealing with Hebron’s Jewish community in 1929. A few years later Hebron honored him at our annual ‘dinner’ in New York, awarding him a beautiful Hanukkah Menorah – ‘a survivor.’
Shalom Goldshmid being honored at Hebron event, with David WilderA few weeks ago Shalom Goldshmid’s three other children arrived in Israel to attend a family wedding. When they came into Hebron, again I took them to the cemetery and later to Ma’arat HaMachpela. A week later I joined them, together with Noam Arnon, at the wedding of Moshe Goldshmid’s son, Meir, and his wife, Chaya Mushka. Noam and I were honored to act as ‘witnesses’ during the Chupa, the wedding ceremony.
Moshe Goldshmid''s grandchildren at cemetery in Hebron Interview with Israel Goldshmid, and sisters Bassy and HannahI personally found this to be an amazingly wonderful and emotional event. Here I am, attending the wedding of the great grandson of martyred Hebron resident, Moshe Goldshmid. The Goldshmid family’s Hebron saga could easily have ended that Shabbat in 1929. But it didn’t. One of the Goldshmid’s told me, “as children we were always told that we are a ‘Hebron family.’ Even if we don’t live there today, that is where our home is.”
Noam Arnon and David Wilder with Moshe Goldshmid Goldshmid weddingThe chatan’s (groom’s) name, Meir, means to radiate light. What could exude more light than the beginning of a new family, here in Israel?! Meir and Chaye Mushka are carrying the torch of Meir’s great grandfather, who may have physically died in Hebron on August 24, 1929, but who spiritually, still lives on. The family does not avoid Hebron, feeling threatened by ‘security issues.’ Rather they continue to visit Hebron and Ma’arat HaMachpela, and maintain close ties with myself and other Hebron residents. Seeing this, witnessing this, being a part of such a flame, a flame of eternity – that’s what Hebron is all about.