At the funeral yesterday, I saw…

At the funeral yesterday, I saw…

a woman who works at the register in the supermarket I shop in.

the guy who I sat next to in synagogue this past Shabbat.

my son’s 7th grade teacher.

the local Chabad rabbi.

the kid I bought my lulav from this year for Sukkot.

a woman I recognized from the local pharmacy.

a neighbor who’s on a 24-hour leave from his reserve duty in the army.

a father hugging his daughter as she weeped uncontrollably.

a teenager holding an Israeli flag.

And we were all standing there together, in the rain, at a funeral of a 20-year old soldier most of us never met, because he gave his life for our people and our nation and that’s the very least we could give back to him.

About the Author
Akiva Gersh moved to Israel from New York in 2004 and has been working in the field of Jewish and Israel Education for over 20 years. In 2020 he founded @Israel to share his love and passion for Israel with students, schools and communities around the world through his online classes, courses and virtual tours of Israel. Akiva is also the editor of the book "Becoming Israeli" (, a compilation of essays that gives an inside look at the unique experience of making aliyah and the journey of acclimating to life in Israel. He also created a social media platform called "Vegan Rabbi" through which he teaches about Jewish teachings related to health, animal welfare and environmental stewardship. Akiva lives in Pardes Hanna with his wife Tamar and their four kids.
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