Tuvia Book
Author, educator, Tour-Guide, artist

True kindness in this war

True Kindness. Photo (c) T.Book. 2023

Plato is attributed with stating that we must be kind to everyone, as we don’t know what people are going through. In Judaism the ultimate true kindness (“Hesed shel Emet”) is attending a funeral or memorial service, as the deceased cannot thank you personally. One shows ones respect just because it’s the kind and right thing to do.

A few days ago my IDF unit was at a staging post, near the cemetery of an evacuated Kibbutz near Gaza when a Ministry of Defense contractor arrived to prepare the grave of a soldier who was killed in action on the black Shabbat of October 7. 

It was the “shloshim” (thirty day) anniversary of his death, and there was no one from his family or friends there, as we were in a closed military zone.  

We spontaneously decided that as we are also his “family” we would hold an impromptu memorial service and said Kaddish for our brother-in-arms Idan z”l. Idan Baruch z”l fell in defense of our land. He was just 19.

Soldiers in my unit at the impromptu memorial service for Idan z”l. Photo (c) T. Book, 2023

Amid the grassy quietude and gently blowing wind by the fresh grave we recited the Kaddish prayer celebrating the eternity and holiness of the Jewish people.

About the Author
Dr. Tuvia Book was born in London and raised in both the UK and South Africa. After making Aliya at the age of 17 and studying in Yeshiva he volunteered for the IDF, where he served in an elite combat unit. Upon his discharge he completed his BA at Bar-Ilan University, as well as certification in graphic design. He then served as the Information Officer at the Israeli Consulate of Philadelphia, while earning a graduate degree in Jewish Studies. Upon his return to Israel, Dr. Book graduated from a course of study with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, and is a licensed tour guide. Tuvia has been working in the field of Jewish Education, both formal and informal, for many years. He has guided and taught Jewish students and educators from around the English-speaking world for some of Israel’s premier educational institutions and programs. Tuvia has been guiding groups for Birthright Israel since its inception and, in addition, has lectured throughout North America, Australia, Europe and South Africa. Tuvia served as a Shaliach (emissary) for the Jewish Agency for Israel as the Director of Israel and Zionist Education at the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York (Jewish Education Project). He was a lecturer/educational guide at the Alexander Muss Institute for Israel Education (AMIIE) in Israel for a decade. Tuvia has lectured at both Bar Ilan University and Hebrew University. He was a Senior Editor and Teaching Fellow at the Tikvah Fund. He is a research associate at the Hudson Institute. Tuvia is the author and illustrator the internationally acclaimed Israel education curriculum; "For the Sake of Zion; A Curriculum of Israel Studies" (Fifth edition, Koren 2017), and "Moral Dilemmas of the Modern Israeli Soldier" (Rama, 2011) and has a doctorate in Israel Education. His latest book, "Jewish Journeys, The Second Temple Period to the Bar Kokhba Revolt – 536 BCE-136 CE," was published by Koren this year. To order:
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