The parents of Roi Klein and Noam Apter, two fallen IDF soldiers, have recently returned from a three-week tour of the United States and Canada speaking on heroism. They were invited to speak by the Bnei Akiva North American delegation, and the Beni David pre-army program.
Major Roi Klein, a member of the Golani brigade, was killed during the 2006 Lebanon War. In the Battle of Bint Jbeil, a hand grenade was thrown into the house where Klein and his unit were positioned. Klein immediately jumped on the grenade, which killed him instantly. His act of bravery saved the lives of his entire unit.
In 2002, Sergeant Noam Apter was killed during a terrorist attack at the yeshiva in Otniel. Noam Apter was working in the yeshiva kitchen, preparing Shabbat dinner for over 100 students in the adjacent dining hall. Two terrorists snuck into the kitchen through a service entrance, disguised in army uniforms and armed with M-16 rifles. In his final moments, Apter locked the adjoining dining room door which prevented the terrorists from reaching the other students. He died in the ambush but was able to save the lives of his yeshiva classmates.
What a journeyDuring the journey, the Klein and Apter families visited community centers and schools in Toronto, Hamilton (Canada), Chicago, Detroit, Monsey, Long Island, and New York. Students and parents from across North America were able to learn about these two remarkable stories of bravery in the midst of danger.
'Feels like one big family' (Photo courtesy of World Bnei Akiva)
Following last week's visit to the Jewish center in Toronto, Roi Klein's mother Shosh described how special it was to pass these stories on, and said, "We are very excited to see the community's responses".
At the events, a movie was screened detailing the heroic deeds of both Roi and Noam. Audiences were left with feelings of admiration, gratitude, and a connectedness to Israel. Yossi Apter, Noam's father said on several occasions, "I ask myself sometimes what am I doing here? Thousands of miles away from my home and family, but at the end of each meeting such as this I am amazed how every time can feel like one big family".
Program a success
This was the second year the Bnei Akiva movement in partnership with the Bnei David pre-army program has presented a Jewish heroism tour.
Tzachi Hayun, Bnei Akiva's central educational organizer for the Midwest told Ynetnews, "Beyond them being alumni of the movement, Noam and Roi represent the values we believe in. The commitment to Torah, to the people of Eretz Israel, the giving, humility, and professionalism are all representatives of the movements values in which Noam and Roi grew up in…I tell youth- we don't want to teach how to die, we want to teach how to live."
Rabbi Tomer Grossman, Bnei Akiva's central educational Shaliach in the US and Canada, described the trip as a great success. The trip allowed students from across North America to identify with stories of heroism and develop a closer understanding of Israel.