[UPDATED] Rose Lubin was ‘A Comet Shedding Light’

[UPDATED] Rose Lubin was ‘A Comet Shedding Light’

Sgt. Rose Ida Lubin was laid to rest at Mount Herzl cemetery on Nov. 9 after being stabbed to death while on patrol in Old Jerusalem City.

Sgt. Rose Ida Lubin was laid to rest at Mount Herzl cemetery on Nov. 9 after being stabbed to death while on patrol in Old Jerusalem City.
Sgt. Rose Ida Lubin was laid to rest at Mount Herzl cemetery on Nov. 9 after being stabbed to death while on patrol in Old Jerusalem City.

For the thousands of people who attended the Nov. 9 funeral of Rose Lubin who didn’t know her but wanted to honor her, the eulogies by her family and rabbi provided a glimpse of the 20-year-old IDF soldier tragically killed in Jerusalem earlier that week.

Along with the strangers paying their respects to the “lone” soldier – whose family lives in Atlanta while she served in the Israeli army – were dozens of Israeli Defense Force and police officers, some of whom also spoke about the young woman. One also announced that she had been promoted.

Congregation Ariel Rabbi Binyomin Friedman posed with Rose Lubin at the FIDF gala event honoring her in May.

A security officer from Kibbutz Sa’ad, where Lubin had been visiting on Oct. 7 when Hamas terrorists attacked communities along the border with Gaza, spoke of her efforts to protect the community. “This was a unique young lady,” he said, then directed his message to her family. “We have no words to console you, but you can be proud of this daughter that you raised. Rose will always be a symbol of love for Israel.”

Congregation Ariel Rabbi Binyomin Friedman asserted that Lubin was different: “she was color, music skipping, laughing, painting, and writing. She was light itself.” She was also a Jewish hero, the Dunwoody rabbi said. He recalled that when she was honored in Atlanta by the Friends of the IDF in May, the young woman said her heroes were her parents, who supported her decision to move to Israel and join the army, leaving the “quiet and safe” Dunwoody.

David Lubin described his eldest daughter as an all-American kid, but “wore her individuality every day.”

Rose was the eldest of her siblings. In his eulogy, brother, Alec, said she was “my big sister, my first friend and my first best friend. She was the most free-spirited person I’d ever known” and the “most understanding person I ever met.” He said she loved to laugh, although it came out more as a snort. “There was nothing fake about Rose.”

While her mother, Robin, recited her daughter’s bat mitzvah speech from not that many years ago, her stepmother, Stephanie Keating Lubin, pointed out that Rose never knew a stranger. “You couldn’t help but love her.”

According to the bereaved father, David, by age of five, Rose had already visited Israel twice. He described her as an all-American kid, but “wore her individuality every day.” As had others, he pointed to the fact that she changed her hair color and her distinctive clothes regularly, and never wore matching socks.

Congregation Ariel Rabbi Binyomin Friedman asserted that Lubin was different: “she was color, music skipping, laughing, painting, and writing. She was light itself.”

“I was nervous about her joining the IDF, but I was glad that her hair color” would revert to her natural color – rather than red or blue – and that while in the army, her socks would finally match, he admitted.

The more than hour-long ceremony concluded with a gun salute after dozens of colorful wreaths of flowers were laid upon her grave. They represented numerous Israeli and security organizations. Among them was a wreath purchased by the Atlanta Israeli community.

Even as a child, Rose Ida Lubin knew she wanted to join the Israel Defense Forces. So as soon as she graduated from Dunwoody High School in 2021, she immigrated to Israel and less than a year later was serving as a “lone soldier” in the IDF.

Sgt. Elisheva Rose Ida Lubin // Photo Courtesy Israel Police/Times of Israel

On Monday, Nov. 6, she was stabbed to death in the Old City of Jerusalem, where she was on duty serving as an IDF Border Police officer. Her death left her large extended family in the Atlanta area reeling, with many immediately traveling to Israel for the funeral on Thursday, Nov. 8, at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem.

“She was an exceptional woman, sensitive and perceptive,” said Rabbi Friedman. “As a little child, she was mature, a writer, performer, artist, and she thought deeply about everything. She would share with me what she wrote for school. She was mature way beyond her years. I told her father that she was special.”

More than one person who knew Lubin compared her to a comet shedding light while speeding across the universe. “That was Rose,” said her step-grandmother, Lynne Keating, who related that one of Lubin’s four siblings stated that their sister accomplished more in her small lifetime than many people do in many more years.

Keating said that when Lubin was seven or eight, her counterparts would say, “I want to be your friend.” Lubin would respond: “I have to tell you that when I’m 18, I am moving to Israel and I’m going to be in the IDF.”

Sgt. Rose Ida Lubin, originally from Dunwoody, was stabbed to death while on patrol near the border with Israeli Border Police. Lubin is pictured during the Friends of Israel Defense Forces annual gala this past Spring.

“She was devoted to her Jewish heritage,” said Keating. “She always had an affinity for the State of Israel. She wanted to be its protector.”

On Oct. 7, she had that opportunity. Lubin was visiting the family assigned to her as a lone soldier for Simchat Torah on Kibbutz Sa’ad near the Gaza border when Hamas terrorists from Gaza broke down Israeli defenses and swarmed through more than 20 communities along the border, massacring 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping more than 245, including children and the elderly.

Along with other soldiers who happened to be at the kibbutz, Lubin quickly dressed and took their weapons to make sure the gate was locked. After trying to shoot over the gate, the terrorists gave up and left. The gate was only opened when wounded from outside the kibbutz were brought there for help.

In June, in Acre, Tom and Lynne Keating, along with their daughter, Stephanie, and her son, Isaac, visited Rose in Israel. Pictured, from left: David Lubin, Lynne Keating, Isaac; other side of table: Rose (white hat) and Stephanie Lubin (blue hat).

But on Nov. 6, a 16-year-old Palestinian attacked Lubin and another Border Police officer, who survived the assault.

Rabbi Friedman said that a representative from the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast went to Lubin’s parents’ house along with Dunwoody police at 4:30 a.m., Monday morning, to notify them of their daughter’s death. David Lubin and his wife — Rose’s stepmother, Stephanie — then went to the house of Robin Lubin, Rose’s mother, to share the unimaginably sad news.

Family and friends attend the funeral of Sergeant Rose Ida Lubin at Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem on Nov. 9, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90/Times of Israel

Anat Sultan-Dadon, the Israeli consul general, told the AJT that “Consul Royi Ende delivered the tragic news. We were heartbroken to learn of the brutal murder of Sgt. Rose Lubin by a terrorist in Jerusalem earlier today. Rose bravely chose to serve the State of Israel as a lone soldier, and her tragic passing is a loss for all of us. Our thoughts are with her family in the United States and Israel at this difficult time. May the memory of beautiful Rose forever be a blessing.”

In Israel, if an IDF soldier is killed, special IDF officers pay a call on the soldier’s family, informing them of the tragedy. Obviously, for lone soldiers who don’t have families in Israel, that doesn’t happen. Sultan-Dadon explained that “as the representative of the State of Israel, the Consulate delivers the tragic news if there is a fallen soldier or a victim of terror whose family is in our region, as was done early this morning.”

A cousin of David Lubin, who did not want to be named, said he was driving and listening to Israeli news on his phone when it announced Rose Lubin’s death. “I heard the name. I was shocked.” He said he pulled over to check the veracity of the news. He’s been in touch with other family members, some of whom were flying from California to Israel for the funeral.

Rose Lubin pictured with her father, David, and step-grandfather, Tom Keating, in Israel.

Among those who went to Israel was her aunt, Elise Kosofsky, who is on the board of Camp Ramah Darom, which sent out an email message of condolence at noon on Nov. 6.

Speaking for a wide swath of the close-knit family, her cousin stated that “everyone is trying to figure out what to do.”

Several non-Jewish neighbors of Robin Lubin attached blue and white ribbons to mailboxes in honor of Rose Ida Lubin.

In addition to many cousins, aunts, and uncles, as well as her father, stepmother, and mother, Lubin had two brothers, Alec and Joseph, a sister, Lily, and a four-year-old half-brother, Isaac, and grandparents and step-grandparents in Atlanta. She was the eldest child in the family. In addition to the immediate family, David and Robin’s siblings left for Israel on Nov. 7. Former Congregation Or Hadash Rabbi Analia Bortz, who now lives in Jerusalem, also attended the funeral.

In May, when Lubin was honored by the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces at an annual gala in Atlanta, more than 40 family members, which includes the Halpern, Hirsch, and Oppenheimer families, attended the event.

In a recent short video, Lubin sent her family “shabbat shalom” greetings, waving to them and telling them that she loves them.

Rabbi Friedman said that upon the family’s return from Israel, his congregation will decide how to honor the young woman.

Israeli security forces and rescue forces at the scene of an attack outside a police station outside Jerusalem’s Old City, Nov. 6, 2023 // Photo Credit: Chaim Goldberg/ Flash90/Times of Israel

On the day of the stabbing death, Jewish and non-Jewish friends of the family immediately expressed their support. A Jewish friend of Robin Lubin wrote on NextDoor about Rose’s death and immediately received dozens of supportive messages. Non-Jewish neighbors of the bereaved mother in Dunwoody organized the neighborhood to attach blue and white ribbons on several mailboxes in honor of the young fallen soldier.

On Nov. 6, Sultan-Dadon and a number of others from the consulate visited the family. “They came to make sure the family was OK,” said Keating. “The family was so appreciative.” Keating also cited the amazing outpouring of support the family has received from all over the world.

Fighting tears, Keating described herself and her husband, Tom, as Lubin’s “Bubbie and Poppa K and she’s our granddaughter.” Since the Keatings’ daughter, Stephanie, married Lubin’s father David in 2017, they have felt that Rose was a part of their family. “Rose is just so special,” Keating said, often speaking in the present tense. “There’s no way I can capture who she was.”

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