Real Life Hero
IDF Lieutenant Colonel D.*, a Boys Town Jerusalem graduate who commands a combat regiment defending Israel’s southern border, returned to his alma mater on Memorial Day to convey an important message to today’s students: "You are exposed to more dangers than was the case in my generation. Your responsibility to defend our nation is an enormous one, fraught with new and hazardous threats. But your training and your might begin right here at Boys Town---Learn Torah, learn its morals and ethics, learn its complexities, and you will be fortified with strength."
With visible pain, the officer spoke about his relationship with Major Roi Klein, who was killed leading his troops in the battle of Bint Jbeil during the 2006 Second Lebanese War. "Roi and I were both very busy commanders, but we made a commitment to study Torah together, whenever we had even a minute," D. recalled. "Roi was passionate about analyzing the most complex passages of Jewish texts. ‘Difficult is good,’ he’d tell me when I reached an impasse in the studies. Indeed, Roi transferred this same concept to his military role. He was a brilliant tactician who made bold decisions, while always placing the sanctity of life above all other considerations.
"In death," Lt.Col. D. declared, "Roi Klein’s pure sense of devotion and ethics triumphed. He saved the lives of his men as he shielded them with his own body from a live grenade. His last words were ‘Shma Yisrael.’" Turning to the students of Boys Town Jerusalem assembled before him, the IDF officer implored, "Take something from the tragedies of this Memorial Day, and use it for the good of yourselves and the nation. Carry the inspiration of the soldiers who fell in battle, and enrich your own lives and the moral fiber of this nation. Everything my friend Roi Klein gave to the military, he received from his strong Jewish education. For his sake and the sake of us all, listen and learn from your rabbis and teachers. I know how valuable their contribution will be to your futures lives. Fill your hearts with the knowledge and passion to lead Israel with moral strength and with the love of Torah and Jewish values."
The Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron) ceremony at Boys Town Jerusalem continued with a tribute to the school’s 65 graduates and faculty members who fell in defense of Israel. Seventh grader Shyelle Brosh lit a memorial candle in memory of the fallen, including his uncle Yoav Abrashimi, a reservist killed in battle at the Suez Canal during the Yom Kippur War. Students and faculty then rose for two minutes of silence, as sirens were sounded throughout Israel. Following the ceremony, Boys Town students devoted the remainder of the day to Torah study sessions, in memory of the fallen. As for Lt. Col. D., he left his alma mater for the nearby Mount Herzl Military Cemetery, to comfort bereaved families of young soldiers in his command who had fallen in the line of duty.
**Security concerns do not permit identifying him by name.
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