Her uncle died in Lebanon; 38 years later, she's a bereaved family officer

“I hope that when I become an officer in July the corona emergency will be over and they can come to my graduation ceremony and be proud of me,” the soldier added.

Noam Tsubara, who comes from a bereaved family and is in training to become bereaved family liaison non-commissioned officer. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Noam Tsubara, who comes from a bereaved family and is in training to become bereaved family liaison non-commissioned officer.
For Noam Tsubara, Remembrance Day has always represented a very unique time.
In 1982, her father’s older brother Yadid was serving as a Nahal paratrooper in Lebanon and was killed when his car hit a mine. So when at the end of high school she started to think about her army service and she was offered the opportunity to apply for a position as a bereaved family liaison noncommissioned officer, she immediately went for it.
About a year later, Tsubara has completed the first part of the training to become an officer, inspired by her uncle’s story and by what she felt the army has done for her family for decades..
“When my uncle died, for my grandfather it was extremely hard,” she told The Jerusalem Post. “However, he was able to overcome it. He renovated the soldiers’ cemetery in Rosh Ha’ayin where they lived, and he headed the local branch of the organization of bereaved families for 25 years.”
“One could have thought that after the army took his son from my grandfather, he would have had very negative and painful feelings toward it. But in fact he deeply loves the army,” Tsubara said. “I think that a huge part of it is due to how the system embraces and makes an effort to do as much as possible for the bereaved families.”
An officer has remained in touch with her grandparents every year, and someone calls them before every festival to wish them a happy holiday, she said.
Their grandparents have played an important role in inspiring Tsubara, who is now 19, to pursue this role in the army.
“I’m a people person, and I felt it would really fit me,” she said. “But I also wanted so much for it to come full circle for my family. I feel this task is so blessed. When I told my grandparents that I was going to serve in this position, they were so happy.”
“I hope that when I become an officer in July, the coronavirus emergency will be over, and they can come to my graduation ceremony and be proud of me,” Tsubara said.
“Many believe that a bereaved family liaison officer is just the person who knocks on families’ doors to inform them about the death of their love one,” she said. “But this is not the case. They also support them after the mourning period and help them with all sorts of issues, economic and social, and are the liaison between them and the army, sometimes also helping the younger siblings or the children of the deceased when they are drafted.”
“An officer also assists those who are injured with their medical rights with the army and with the Defense Ministry,” Tsubara said. “It’s a job that requires a lot of resilience.”
In the training, they learn how not to take the cases of the soldiers or families they help too personally and how to analyze the different situations and understand when it is time for them to intervene and when to just sit back and listen, she said. Each officer is also assigned to a psychologist who supports them.
 coronavirus emergency is very much affecting her job, Tsubara said. Usually the Remembrance Day period is one of the most intense, with many projects to organize and families to visit.
“Now, because of the virus, families are prohibited to visit the cemeteries, which is something that had never happened before, and many can’t handle it,” she said. “We are making a special effort to keep the connection with them as strong as possible, especially with the veteran bereaved families, who are elderly and at risk and cannot receive visits. It’s really saddening, and we are waiting for better days.”
Growing up, she always would go with her family to visit her uncle in Rosh Ha’ayin on Remembrance Day, Tsubara told the Post.
“All the extended family came, even people who I did not know, many friends of Yadid, his comrades from Nahal, his commanders,” she said, adding that they often shared memories and stories about him.
“I had this feeling that I was missing someone I didn’t even knew,” she said. “It’s not fair to miss someone you never met and to wish they were sitting with you and expe
riencing things with you.”
Since Tsubara was drafted, she has been involved in organizing all sorts of projects and initiatives for the commemoration of fallen soldiers.
“Last year, it was the first time that I went to the cemetery in Rosh Ha’ayin wearing my uniform, and all eyes were on me. It was very emotional,” Tsubara said.