I remember it like it was yesterday, that mid-August day in 2009. I was 18 and had only made Aliyah one month earlier.
I couldn’t speak all that much Hebrew, and arriving to the mechina (pre-military yeshiva) in Eli, I had entered shock.
I didn’t understand what was going on, I quickly moved all of my worldly possessions into a little trailer, and set off to meet my teacher, and class.
Finding my seat, I immediately met a few classmates who could speak English, and among them was Hadar Goldin Z”L.
The class quickly became a tight knit group, for me they were brothers.
Goldin (as we called him) was always at the center of the class, livening up the spirits with jokes, or drawing comical pictures.
One month after arrival in Eli, I had my 19th birthday, and my class threw me a party. Hadar began a tradition of making a birthday crown for everyone, complete with pictures describing the person. Mine had pictures of the army, the lsraeli flag, and more.
Throughout the year I spent Shabbatot with my classmates, and several of those Shabbatot were at the Goldins. I also spent my first Israel Independence day at their house.
I happened to be very sick that day. I remember Hadar coming in to wake me up in the afternoon telling me “Jesse, wake up, we are having steaks.” He made sure that I had fun that day, even though I was sick. He made me feel at home.
Another time I was sick at his house, again with a fever, and his mother made me go to the doctor, but I had errands to do. After visiting the doctor, I was prescribed with antibiotics, but I did not have time to wait at the pharmacy for them, so Hadar volunteered to pick them up for me.
My stories may seem simple, but Hadar was a true friend, he made my first year here a lot easier, and was always there to help me.
Hadar and another classmate used to put on plays, usually following the story of the weekly parsha, but towards the end of the year, before I flew to see my parents before my draft, they did one about me.
It poked a little fun at me, but it was heart warming, and reminded me that all of my class were like family to me.
After going into the army, my contact with him, like most of my classmates became a lot less, but every so often we would still speak.
I remember my last phone conversation with him,it was May of last year, I had called him to invite him to my wedding. He returned my call to tell me that unfortunately they would not let him out of the army for the wedding.
A couple of weeks later he had gotten engaged, and had invited the class to his engagement party, I unfortunately was unable to attend.
As I write this post I can only think one thing. Thank you Hadar for being my friend, you made my aliyah easier, you made learning in Eli even better. You always had a smile on your face, and knew how to make others smile, even in tough times. Thank you for dealing with me when I was sick at your house (at least twice).
I will try to do everything to continue your way, and your memory.
In the words of General George Patton: “It is foolish to mourn men who died. Rather we should thank G-d that such men lived”
I do not agree that it is foolish to mourn, but I do agree that we need to thank G-d that such men lived. I thank G-d that I had the honor to call Hadar my friend.
As we approach his Yartzheit, I call on every reader to pressure the world governments into bringing Hadar home.