In the small community of Rosh Tzurim in Gush Etzion, where I live, there is a beautiful home for lone soldiers. Corporal Dovid Mittleman, Hashem Yikom Damo, was a resident of the home.
The home was built by Aharon and Yael Granot and established in memory of Yitzchok Weinstock, who was brutally murdered by terrorists the day before his induction to the IDF. The soldiers living there are fulfilling Yitzchok’s dream of serving in the IDF. My neighbor Kana Schechter serves as the volunteer manager of this home, which can house up to ten lone soldiers.
On the day of the horrible Shemini Atzeret massacre, Aharon lost two of his “sons”—Dovid Mittleman and French-born Binyamin Lev whose family lives in France. Aharon said of twenty-year-old Dovid, “He was so full of positivity.” A fighter in the fifty-first Battalion of the Golani Brigade, Dovid fell while guarding the gate of the Kissufim army base in the South. For several minutes Dovid and another soldier staved off the terrorists, thereby saving the lives of other soldiers on the base. He managed to shoot and kill some terrorists before he was killed.
I called up Yael, the “adoptive mother” of Dovid to offer my condolences. She and her family were so connected to him and are so broken. Yael described Dovid as a very happy person, sensitive, sweet, quiet in the beginning until he got to know the family, silly at times and a jokester.
A call went out for people to come to Dovid’s funeral. Many people from our community of Rosh Tzurim traveled to Dovid’s funeral in Petach Tikva. Someone from a pre-army academy saw the notice and brought the entire academy to the funeral. Even amidst all of the funerals being held in the country because of the horrific massacre, hundreds of Jews from across the religious and political spectrum—most of whom had never met Dovid—came out of their deep desire to accompany and honor a lone soldier who had given his life for Am Yisrael. I pray that this achdut will remain forever etched on our hearts and in our souls. May the memory of Dovid Mittelman be blessed.
Adina Hershberg has an MSW from Yeshiva University and works as a freelance writer. Over the years, she and her family have “adopted” lone soldiers.