As many of you know, several boys from our community were drafted into Tzahal this week. Our boys became part of Givati, the brigade where our Shaliach, Dvir Dimri, did his army service. Some of the parents and relatives who were in Israel to send the boys off, shared beautiful videos of the hesder and Machal boys, from many different yeshivot, dancing and singing while proudly waving a giant Israeli flag. These boys genuinely feel honored to have the opportunity to defend their country.
Before they left for the army, Rabbi Taragin of Yeshivat Hakotel gave the boys divrei chizuk. He asked them to imagine how the Jews of Shushan wished they had a country of their own, or an army to protect them in the face of evil men like Haman. This is true of so many other times in Jewish History, when the Jews were physically unable to defend themselves and had no place of refuge.
The week before our son Rami (’14) left, he needed to get his “army hair cut.” He knew that the Hillel Torah 8th graders had been privileged to interview a man named Ben Scheinkopf this year. Ben survived Auschwitz because he was a barber. Every day for three years, he received an extra ration of food so the Nazis could keep him strong enough to shave the heads of hundreds of Jewish prisoners each day.
As many of you know, Ben still works as a barber at his shop on Touhy and California. He is 96 years old and has been a barber for 77 years. Rami decided that there could be no better barber to cut his hair for Tzahal then Ben Scheinkopf. When we walked into the shop and told Ben what Rami wanted, he was very excited. He too had been a soldier in the IDF, fighting in the Negev during the 1948 War of Independence. Having watched his entire family perish in Auschwitz, he was proud to have been part of the establishment of the State of Israel. He had been a friend of David Ben Gurion in his hometown of Plonsk and told Rami stories about Ben Gurion and his undying dream of a Jewish state. “If only we had the State of Israel during the Holocaust, we would have had somewhere to run and an army to fight for us.” Ben spoke these words passionately, as the clipper buzzed away and Rami’s hair fell to the ground.
Ben the Barber, survivor of Auschwitz, soldier in the War of Independence, friend of David Ben Gurion, was preparing Rami to take his place in defending the Jewish State and the Jewish people, something that should never be taken for granted.
ICJA Parent Laurie Pinchot shared the above post on Facebook, and we received permission to repost it here.