Michael Levin - Hero
"Michael gave both body and soul to Israel." Rabbi Alan Silverstein
It's one thing to debate the Middle East war in the abstract. It's another thing entirely to have family and friends who live there. And it's just plain bone chilling to know someone who's been killed in that war.
I've been through this cracked looking glass once already this summer. My son and I came home from a visit to our family in Israel on July 13, just coincidentally the day the war started.
Three days later we had a death in the family. Not in Israel, but in Oregon of all places. My sister's husband was killed in a plane crash there on July 16.
We're still dealing with that. We're still debating the war in the Middle East. And we're getting more concerned about our family in Israel. They aren't in immediate danger. Yet. None of them is in the army. Yet. But it looks like it's only a matter of time.
So we follow the news closely. Mostly MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times and NBC Nightly News, our evening newscast of choice. We tune in with trepidation as the war gets bloodier. And every time the phone rings, we worry.
And then a local story we weren't expecting. A Bucks County boy (as a mother I have trouble thinking of him as a man, but he certainly acted like one and deserves the title), 22 year old Michael Levin died fighting for the Israeli army.
Michael Levin was my son's age. They both graduated high school in 2002. Different schools. But friendly rivals on the soccer field. Even back then Michael Levin was a tough kid ... in the right way. Determined. Dedicated. Decisive. And he had a plan.
Our son Michael went on to college. Michael Levin chose a different path. He committed himself to a life in Israel. And gave his life for that commitment.
We didn't know Michael or his family very well. But you don't have to know a child at all to feel his mother's excruciating pain over his death. His father's heartbreak. His sisters' anguish. His family's devastating sense of loss.
Michael Levin was a mensch. A good, decent person. A fighter ... for ideals, for freedom, for his heritage. He didn't just talk about supporting Israel -- he put his money where his mouth was. He moved there and joined the army as a paratrooper. One of the toughest assignments there is.
As he would have wanted, Michael Levin died for a righteous cause -- fighting Hezbollah. Even as we grieve his loss, we honor his singular dedication to his chosen homeland -- Israel.
Agree. Disagree. It doesn't matter. A young man is dead. If you're a Jew--and even if you're not--he died for you. He was buried Thursday, where he belonged, in Israel.
There's nothing abstract about that. It's cold, hard, terrible reality. Olev Ha'Shalom, Michael Levin. Rest in peace. And thank you.