Fallen Former Clevelander Recalled at Yom Hazikaron

Tags: Federation, Israel

  • Share This Story

Over 500 Yom Hazikaron commemoration attendees watch former Cleveland resident Marcy Oster’s pre-recorded tribute to her son, Amichai Oster, who was killed Jan. 1 while fighting Hamas in Gaza on May 12 at Green Road Synagogue in Beachwood. CJN Photo / Abigail Preiszig


Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News

Over 500 people were greeted by the sight of red Anemone coronaria, Israel’s national flower, at the Yom Hazikaron commemoration on May 12.

The almost 1,400 flowers, made of reflective tape and garden stakes by hundreds of local volunteers, were a reminder of the many innocent lives lost. This year that message was especially important amid the war in Gaza following the Oct. 7, 2023, surprise attack on Israel by Hamas, Dana Attias, event co-chair, said at the start of the commemoration.

“The coronaria is said to go where a soul, or a nephesh, has fallen, but they also give hope, symbolizing renewal after difficult times,” she said.

In honor of Israel’s National Memorial Day, the community gathered in white at Green Road Synagogue in Beachwood to honor the fallen and the southern communities of Israel. The event was conducted in memory of Israel Defense Forces soldier with local roots Amichai Yisrael Yehoshua Oster with tributes to Amit Mann and Eitan Weiss.

Amichai Oster, 24, was killed Jan. 1 while fighting Hamas in Gaza. He is among the 30,140 reported number of soldiers, security forces and civilians of all faiths who died defending the state of Israel, Attias said.

His mother, Marcy Oster, a former Cleveland Jewish News reporter, delivered a prerecorded tribute and his uncle, Stuart Spiegel, read the eulogy written by Amichai Oster’s commander.

“Amichai’s death is a bigger part in the history of Israel than we expected to play,” Marcy Oster, who made aliyah to Israel when Amichai was 1, said. “He was where he was supposed to be, and we are where we are supposed to be. Amichai died protecting his family, his country and the Jewish people.”

The commemoration played tribute to Mann, a 22-year-old paramedic and paramedic course instructor killed by Hamas while working in a clinic on Oct. 7. After her death, a video of her singing, “Nothing Will Hurt Me,” written by Erez Stark was found on her phone and the band Knesiyat Hasekhel composed it with her voice, Avigayil Halberstein, a member of the commemoration committee, said before they played the song.

A letter from the mother of Gal Bason, 20, who died during the Tzuk Eitan operation in July 2014, was read by Anat Beck and Ilanit Kalir, community shaliachs, as a tribute to his memory.

Ella Caspi, a community shaliach, introduced the letter and discussed her personal connection to Bason, growing up as his sister’s friend.

“Every person has a name given to him by God and by his father and his mother,” Caspi said. “We all carry at least one with us, the name of someone who fell. You will never forget the first time you recognize and name your familiar with when they announce it in the news. You will never forget the cries of a mother and her son’s funeral carrying him wrapped in a flag.”

Lorin and Alan Gottlieb, who sponsored Omri Ben Shachar, a combat soldier killed in a battle in Gaza, through the IMPACT! scholarship, lit the memorial candle for the fallen, on behalf of the community. They were introduced by Eran Rubin, member of the commemoration committee.

To honor and respect those who have sacrificed their lives for the state of Israel, six wreaths were placed on stage by members of the community.

The victims of war wreath was placed by Lydia and Michael Frankel, representing the Israeli American community in Cleveland.

The wreath of presidents of war, those missing in action and hostages currently held in captivity was placed by Alee and Moe Abraham, representing the Run for Their Lives Cleveland initiative.

The wreath in honor of those whose place of burial is unknown was placed by shaliach Yonatan Winroab and Noa Rabinowitz, joined by Ethan Shneyderman and Scarlett Adler representing the Cleveland Jewish community’s teams and their deep connection to Israel.

The wreath in honor of victims of acts of terror was placed by Leslie and Mark Holz, representing the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s overseas connection committee.

The final wreaths were placed in honor of medics and first responders who fell while saving lives and during fighting since Oct. 7, were placed by students from Gross Schechter Day School in Pepper Pike and the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School in Beachwood.

Eitan Weiss, shaliach for Bnei Akiva Cleveland in Beachwood, sang “Hanasich Hakantan,” or “The Little Prince,” and “Avot U’Banim.”

Rabbi Binyamin Blau of Green Road Synagogue led Tehillim and prayers for the over 250 hostages taken on Oct. 7.

Gadi Galili, ritual director at Park Synagogue in Pepper Pike, led the El Malei Rachamim prayer.

Arie Teomi and Rabbi Joshua Foster of B’nai Jeshurun Congregation in Pepper Pike, chanted “Yizkor” in Hebrew and English, respectively.

Liz and Zevi Kirshner read the poem, “T’Chilah Bochim.”

“We carry with us the weight of a challenging year marked by profound losses,” Mark Sack, event co-chair, said as the commemoration closed. “Yet, amidst the pain and sorrow We gather to remember those we have lost and honor their sacrifice and legacy."

Learn More: Federation, Israel