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Gifts for the Living: Remembering Yitzhak Rabin

Gifts for the Living: Remembering Yitzhak Rabin

After the assassination of Israeli prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, schoolchildren throughout Israel expressed their grief through art, poetry and letters. The book You Said Peace is For Children collected and preserved many of their works, including this letter from a girl named Noa:

Dear Leah Rabin,

Hello. I am Noa, in 4th grade at the Ussishkin school. I don’t know your husband Yitzchak Rabin. I know him only as the Prime Minister. I just want to tell you that yesterday’s date, November 4, 1995, was my 9th birthday, and I really, really want to switch my birthday to another day.

Tel Aviv 

Fast forward 20 years.

Two days ago, 100,000 people came to a rally on Rabin Square in Tel Aviv to remember Yitzchak Rabin’s vision of peace. Presidents Bill Clinton and Reuven Rivlin addressed the crowd with words of encouragement, inviting us to finish Rabin’s unfinished work. And I imagined Noa, standing among the sea of people in the square, listening to these speeches and yearning for better days ahead.

Noa will be 29 years old on Wednesday. In my mind’s eye she doesn’t want to change her birthday anymore. She will share the day and experience it the same way I envision her having experienced the rally: with a mature sense of hope for her own future and for the future of her country.

Here at the Israel Religious Action Center, our birthday gift to Noa is nothing fancy. It’s our resolve to continue fighting for Israel’s Declaration of Independence: for freedom, justice and peace. We will do this in Noa's honor no less than in Yitzchak Rabin’s memory.

After all, these are gifts that are best enjoyed by the living.

Anat Hoffman is the executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center, the public and legal advocacy arm of the Reform Jewish Movement in Israel. She is also the chairwoman of Women of the Wall, a group of Jewish women and men from around the world who strive to achieve the right of women to wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Anat Hoffman
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