Earlier this week, I heard that Rose Ida Lubin, Elisheva, z’l, had been wounded by a terrorist as she guarded one of the gates into the Old City of Jerusalem. The next day, I learned that she had died and was from the city of my birth, Atlanta, Ga.
As soon as I heard the sad news, I resolved that I was going to the funeral at the military cemetery on Mount Herzl. I am the oldest Atlanta-born and bred individual from the “Gate City of the South,” living here in Israel.
I took the bus and light railway and walked over to the military cemetery on Mount Herzl. Anxious, I arrived at 8:30 for a ten o’clock funeral. People were already at the site as well as her fellow magavniks. Suddenly, a gentleman a bit younger than me, because he once worked for me at the synagogue, said hello “David.” Once he gave me his name, recalled he is my relative and he is a relative of Rose Ida z’l.
As the hour when the funeral was to begin arrived, we all stood as her body was carried with a full military guard and placed in the grave. By now, there were 350 to 400 people surrounding the area of the grave, many behind barriers – others on steps watching intently,
The sounds of weeping were very distinct; there sadness touched me as well because I have been deeply involved in our war. I saw the Hamas movie showing the breaking through of the fence and Hamas terrorists walking in casually. When the head of the vaad at Kibbutz Saad, where Rose’s adopted family lived, spoke – we gasped.
When the war began on Shabbat-Simchat Torah, Kibbutz Saad was attacked. Rose Ida was celebrating the holiday with her family there. Hamas began to attack the Kibbutz, Rose jumped to action. In her uniform with her weapon, she fought at kibbutz gate preventing Hamas terrorists to enter. She also freed Kibbutz members whom Hamas had already captured.
After the war was underway, she continued to serve in Magav and was killed by a terrorist.
Her “lust for life” and her military capabilities had a base in her life as she grew up in Atlanta. In her Bat Mitzvah speech, which her parents read with certain emendations, Rose Ida encouraged the building of a sense of trust among young and old. She wanted a better world and hoped to see it created in her lifetime.
When her brother spoke, he touched us all describing his 5-foot sister. “Rose Ida decided in High School that she was going to make the high school wrestling team. I became the one she practiced on and slowly I could see her improving. My sister made the team – the only female wrestler in the history of the school. A year later she wanted to be a cheerleader. She beat out 100 other girls and made it.” Then he paused and looked at her grave. “My beloved sister you stood for Israel paid with your life. I will miss you so.”
All of the army officers and police who spoke, frequently, began to cry – they respected what she had achieved. Her rabbi from Atlanta, Rabbi Binyamin Friedman, flew to Israel with the family. His words were most moving. He cited a section in the Talmud which asked who are those who have died whom God keeps at his side. “Those who fight and die to preserve Eretz Yisrael and the Jewish people are so beloved by God.”
Altogether, there were 10 speakers. By the time of the moving tributes to Rose Ida z’l, the crowd had continued to grow. When the grave was being filled, it was too difficult for me to use a shovel. I wanted to remember how near I was to this precious soul’s burial site. I wet my finger touched the Earth there and made a print on my notebook. Later I picked up a leaf that had fallen as the funeral continued.
Her ‘lust for life’ and her military capabilities had a base in her life as she grew up in Atlanta. In her Bat Mitzvah speech, which her parents read with certain emendations, Rose Ida encouraged the building of a sense of trust among young and old. She wanted a better world and hoped to see it created in her lifetime.
The Mafcal spoke beautifully and forcefully about Rose. “This young woman chose to make aliyah, leave her family and serve in Tzahal and in the police force, Magav.”
His words were in Hebrew, the earphones translated them into English. “In this period of Israel’s history, we are fighting against an enemy, Hamas, which has killed so many people with their surprise attack. Now we are fighting to obliterate them from the face of the earth. Our task is a difficult one because the Hostages whom Hamas stole from us are victims whose wherabout is unknown.”
He continued, “here is a woman diminutive in size, devoted to our nation whose future is gone because she is dead, killed by a terrorist.” He looked at all of us – raised his hand, saluted her dramatically as all of us cried.
The city of Atlanta has 25 soldiers serving here. I was told that it is about half and half men and women. Half of the 25 are in combat units. There are approximately 1,000 lone soldiers.
In 1947, Professor David Macarov z’l and his wife Freda came here. That act of theirs has inspired almost 600 Atlanta Jews to make aliyah. They have seen their children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren serve in the Tzahal and build their lives here.
I am inspired when I hear about those from my birth city coming here to live and help the country in many ways.
The poet says:
“Why build these cities when man-woman
In vain we build an order unless the builders also grow.”
May Rose Ida’s z’l gift of her very own life for our people and our nation inspire us all as we are so challenged when our enemies seek to destroy us.
Am Yisrael Chai.