My Israeli hero is my grandmother Miriam, my father’s mother.
My Grandmother was born in France in 1935 during the Holocaust. Between the years 1942-1945 she was hidden with her brother with a farmer’s family in a village next to the city of Lens.
There she had to spend the rest of the war in a pig pen in order to hide from the Nazis.
Her parents were taken to the Auschwitz extermination camp and were murdered in the gas chambers. My grandma’s entire family was annihilated in Auschwitz.
In 1950 my grandmother and her brother Nahum left the family that saved their lives and moved into a Jewish orphanage near Paris. My Grandmother received a Zionist Jewish education there, and learned at the Maimonide high-school in Paris.
At the orphanage my grandmother also took part in the Bnei Akiva summer camps, and that’s how she discovered Zionism and her love for Israel grew.
In 1953, after graduating high-school, my grandmother immigrated to Israel on the ship called Theodor Herzl with her brother. Then she studied teaching for two years in a seminary for teachers in Givat Washington.
The conditions in Israel during those years were difficult. She lived in a shack without a shower and worked as a dish washer in order to pay for her studying.
In 1955, after finishing her studies, my grandmother moved to kibbutz Sde Eliyahu in Emek Beit-Shean. She married her husband there and worked in education and teaching, first as a teacher and then as the school principal. She organized meetings with the president of Israel at the time Chaim Herzog and with Shimon Peres.
My grandmother had endured many disasters. First, her parents and her whole family were killed in the Holocaust and she had to survive and courageously continue her life in the land of Israel and raise a family in the kibbutz.
In 1995 her youngest daughter, my aunt Shira, was murdered during a mission of the Foreign Ministry in Lagos, Nigeria. Another disaster happened a year ago when her husband, my grandfather Menahem, had died. A month later, her son Doron (my uncle), who was disabled following an accident, had died from a disease.
Despite all of the disasters, my grandmother had decided that she had to continue in her many occupations, and not drown in her bereavement.
Those are all the reasons why I see my grandmother as a hero.
“If you want to continue living, you need to give meaning to life.”