Jessica, a journalist from the Times of Israel : “So is this your first military funeral?”
Me: “No, this is the second one”
Jessica: “Second one ever?”
Me: <heavy sigh> “The second one today. The first one was for Yuval Dagan, from Kfar Saba.”
Yesterday I went to two separate funerals for fallen IDF soldiers. One was for Yuval Dagan and the other was for Sean (Nissim) Carmeli.
These funerals were not on my “to do” list yesterday but by the end of the work day, it was apparent to me that I would be attending one funeral.
Yesterday afternoon I heard that one of the soldiers killed in the war was a “lonely” soldier – Sean (Nissim) Carmeli, who moved to Israel and volunteered to serve in a combat unit for the IDF. Sean grew up in the States and at moved here with his family at 16. His family returned to the States and Sean decided to stay and enlist.
The second funeral was for Yuval Dagan of Kfar Saba. I stumbled across the funeral on my way home from work and knew I could not just go home. I needed to pay my respects for a soldier that I never met who died fighting for our country.
I came home after the funeral with dried tears on my cheeks and told Eitan to hold me. I am lucky. I can hug the man that I love. And I told him… we need to leave to Haifa in 45 minutes to make it to the next funeral.
The drive was relatively quiet until we reached the entrance to Haifa. Traffic was backed up and the sight of the number of people walking to the cemetery made my jaw drop and a huge lump got stuck in my throat.
I don’t really know how to put my feelings into words so bear with me. You see, I am an olah. I moved here the summer of 2004 and I recently celebrated my 10th anniversary of being an American-Israeli. I am beyond proud of the hard choices I made and the daily choices I make to stay here. But I did not put my life on the line for our country and others like Sean, Max Steinberg, Michael Levine and others that came before them.
I was humbled at Sean’s funeral last night. The turnout was massive – and it was astonishing to see how many came to support Sean’s family and to say farewell to one of their own.
As an oleh, you feel different than a sabra. You are different. But when an oleh or volunteer dies fighting for our country, they are considered the same as a sabra. Sean might have grown up in a different country, but he died as a full blooded Israeli.
May Sean, Max, Yuval and the rest of the fallen soldiers rest in peace. May their families and loved ones find endless comfort and support from those around them and all of us.
And may we all experience true peace. Amen.
Filed under: war Tagged: American-Israeli-IDF-Soldiers, chayal-boded, Gaza-war, IDF, IDF-causalities, killed-in-battle, lonely-soldier, Max Steinberg, michael-levine, oleh, olim, sabra, sean-nissim-carmeli, volunteer-soldiers, war