"You can’t fulfill your dream unless you dare to risk it all" - These words were written by Staff Sergeant Michael Levin in his NATIV USY yearbook, a mere four years before he was killed in combat on August 1, 2006.
At 16, Michael had already announced to his mother that he wanted to immigrate to Israel and enlist in a front-line combat unit in the IDF.
Born and raised near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Michael grew up in a traditional, loving Jewish household. He was active in HaGesher Region USY and attended Camp Ramah in the Poconos. In February of 2001, Michael came to Israel for two months and attended the Alexander Muss high school program.
Three years later, he followed his dream and immigrated to Israel, joining an elite paratroopers unit shortly thereafter. He spent some time living in Kibbutz Yavneh, and then moved to an apartment in Jerusalem, which he shared with two other soldiers.
On August 1, 2006, Michael was killed in clashes with Hizbullah in the southern Lebanese village of Aita al-Shaab. He was laid to rest at the Mount Hertzl Cemetery on August 3, 2006. His family flew in from Holland and Pennsylvania.
In March 2007, a 45-minute documentary titled "A Hero in Heaven” was released, telling the story of Michael's life and devotion to his family, his people and the land of Israel.
The film features the music of Naomi Shemer, and poems by Rachel and Shaul Tchernokovsky, as well as film footage of Israel, a message from Benjamin Netanyahu and the words of Michael's family, friends and those who loved him dearly.
"A Hero in Heaven" was written, produced and directed by Sally Mitlas and has gained national and worldwide acclaim.
The film will air on Channel 23 this coming Wednesday at 12:00 pm, in honor of the Remembrance Day for fallen IDF troops.