My Great Grandfather, My Role Model

My Great Grandfather, My Role Model

My Great Grandfather Shmuel was born in Russia to a proud secular Zionist family. From a young age, he was actively involved in the Beter Revisionist Zionist Movement and upon reaching a high rank in the movement he was given the opportunity to move to British Mandated Palestine to help young Jews immigrate. He moved there with my great-grandmother, Tzipora, and on arrival settled on a Kibbutz and had their first child – my great-aunt Mina.

With the outbreak of World War 2 Shmuel joined the Inrgun and later the Haganah, a paramilitary organisation, which “illegally” helped Jews escape the atrocities of the Holocaust whilst also fighting for a liberated Israel from British control. Shmuel was forced to go into hiding as the British and local Arab soldiers offered money for his head. He had to separate himself from his wife who with her bravery never revealed his locations despite the fact that she was constantly raided by British soldiers.

Tzipora gave birth to my grandmother, Nitza, 10 years after Mina. Shmuel continued in his efforts to help Jews escape Europe and throughout this time would become very close friends with Menachem Begin who would one day offer him a position in government which he refused because he wanted to live a settled life with his family.

In 1948, Shmuel’s efforts reached a climax when he fought in the War of Independence and witnessed his dream become a reality. Unfortunately, he would not live to see the day for Begin to be in government as he passed away a few years prior due to lung infections. Shmuel’s bravery and story have taught me that one of the most valuable things in life is peoplehood. To him not only were his people a community, but they were his family and he was willing to risk his life to save his family.

His courage and resilience have taught me that no matter my age I have the ability to make a difference and that through facing hardships you can achieve success. To sum it up in one sentence & quote: If you will it, it is no dream!”.

I am honoured to be named after this hero and I hope to follow in his footsteps.

Ethan Werb Gr 11, SLC Head Student 2023-4


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