Saturday, August 12, 2006

Never did the horrible reality of war affect a family that we know so well as it did last Thursday. Yesterday evening my wife called her parents, as she does every day. They said they were in Binyamina, at the house of my brother-in-law. We thought that they went for the weekend, to breathe some fresh air and see a bit more than the four walls of the bunker at home. After about ten minutes it turned out that they had been to a funeral a little more south. We had read about a soldier who had been killed by anti-tank fire in Lebanon, but we did not know it was major ( res. ) Nimrod Hallel. He was about the same age as my brother-in-law, and when I just met my wife he and his young wife Ofira lived in our street. Both of them had just started a career after having studied and met at the Technion. They had a beautiful daughter, Yasmin, and later, after they moved to Rosh Ha'ayin, they had a son, Noam, who is half a year younger than our daughter, and twin daughters, Hadas and Sapir, who like our son will have their fourth birthday in November. Yasmin had her bat-mitzvah about half a year ago. Many of the baby-videos that were used at the party had been made by my wife.
Nimrod's father Mike, who immigrated to Israel from Australia and who is one of the wisest and most reasonable men that I know, was a schoolfriend of my father-in-law. They have stayed in touch ever since, and the two families have met at every possible - mostly happy - occasion. Mike was a combat officer in several wars, and he became an English teacher afterwards. Nimrod's mother, Hava, is a beautiful and very warm Greek version of the yiddishe mame, always taking care of her children and grandchildren, and always preparing all kinds of food and doing various kinds of handicraft. Each of their four children is - I should use the past tense for Nimrod now, but I find that hard - nicer, warmer, and more help- and succesful than the other. We knew that Nimrod and his two brothers had been called up as reservists, and we did worry about all our soldiers in Lebanon and especially about the ones we knew personally, but of course we never imagined that someone whose family we know so well and with whom it is so easy to identify ourselves with would not survive this war. After my wife had finished talking to her parents she went upstairs, to surf on the net and call a friend. By chance our wedding video was downstairs, so I pointed out Nimrod, Ofira, Hava and 2-year old Yasmin to my parents. The four of them were dancing right after the chuppah. May G'd help Nimrod's widow, children, parents and siblings for the rest of their lives, and may Nimrod's memory be a blessing. For two articles in Hebrew about Nimrod and his death click here and here.

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