Sunday, August 26, 2007

Staff Sargent Michael Levin z"l

Last Friday Naomi, Sara Romanoski, and I went to visit the Cemetery at Har Herzl. It is there that all the Prime Ministers of Israel, Presidents, and other dignitaries are buried. It's a must to see for any trip to Israel; but it was not the reason we went.

Last Summer when Israel was fighting in Lebanon against Hezbollah our friend Mike Levin was killed in action. Many of you have probably heard about him by now as the famous American who died fighting for Israel. In total there were three Chayalei Boded (Lone Soldiers) killed in Lebanon.

It took a little while for us to find his grave, as we entered through Har Herzl instead of the main entrance to the military cemetery. But eventually, through some creative hiking on my part, we found it in Section 4,6. I've seen pictures of his grave before and it was just as I expected. Mike was - though I didn't know him well - one of those guys you never forget. And it appears that he left that impression on hundreds of people.

The grave was decorated with Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies memorabilia, pictures of him with friends, cotton (I didn't really get this one - must be "something from America"), letters that people wrote him. The most moving part of the entire experience was reading the plaque that is attached to the grave "An American Oleh whose love for G-d and Israel is eternal".

The candle that is next to every Soldier's grave was alight, it seems that someone else visited his grave that morning before us. In the Jerusalem Post article written about him when the news broke that he had been killed in combat it mentioned that every American living in Jerusalem knew him, I'm not surprised and it seems that the affect he had on them has lasted even after his unfortunate death.

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