Eli Kay was a role model for the olim in Israel – editorial

As South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein wrote in his statement of condolences to the Kay family, “Eli, his son, was a hero of the Jewish people who made aliyah and served in the IDF, like his other sons, and made us all so proud.”

Noting that “the Kay family has been pillars of the South African Jewish community for generations, examples of kindness, contribution and faith,” Goldstein wrote: “They are a family recognized and loved for making this world a better place through their good works, and Eli lived with the same spirit and values ​​”.

Kay, the grandson of Rabbi Shlomo Levin, a rabbi of the South Hampstead United Synagogue in London, and the son of Avi and Devorah Kay, moved to Israel from Johannesburg on his own in 2016 to study at the Chabad yeshiva in Kiryat Gat. A year later, he volunteered to serve in the IDF Parachute Brigade under the Machal framework. Despite being wounded several times in the IDF, he marched with courage and determination, completing his military service in August 2019.

After officially deciding to make aliyah, he volunteered at Kibbutz Nirim on the Gaza border for a year and most recently worked as a guide for the Western Wall Heritage Foundation in Jerusalem.

Eli Kay, the 26-year-old South African oleh who was killed in a Hamas terror attack in the Old City of Jerusalem. (credit: courtesy)

“He lifted everyone’s spirits,” said the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. “He did his holy work with dedication and loyalty.”

Kay served as a role model for her family who followed in her footsteps. His older and younger brothers came to Israel, made aliyah and served as “lone soldiers” in the IDF, while his parents and younger sister made aliyah last December and settled in Modi’in.

Kay planned to marry his fiancee, Jen Schiff, in a few months. In a heartfelt tribute, Schiff told reporters Sunday night: “I felt it was important to share how much Eli loved this country and how he got here alone and fought for this country. He had a lot of wounded in the army and yet he kept going through all the training and had his own soldiers.

“He is the strongest person I have ever known, emotionally and physically … He always treated everyone with love and respect. I know that when this happened today he did not feel alone and that he knew that by being in this country and doing what he was doing and who he was, giving everything he had to the people around him and to the people of Israel ”.

According to Telfed, the South African Zionist Federation, Kay was the 10th South African immigrant killed in a terrorist attack in Israel since the establishment of the state. Telfed also reports that South African aliyah is at its highest point in 25 years, with more than 440 immigrants arriving in Israel this year.

Eli Kay’s death should not deter Jews in South Africa and around the world from making aliyah, nor should it prevent like-minded young men and women like him from serving as lone soldiers in the IDF. Rather, Kay’s life should inspire others to follow her shining example.

One of his brothers, Kasriel, noted that Eli was the first member of the Kay family to come to Israel “and gave everything for this country,” adding that the family is planning to build something in his memory, “so really remember him forever. “.

Eli Kay was a passionate Zionist, a devoted Jew, and a compassionate human being who gave himself for others and for Israel. It was an example of the amazing contributions olim (new immigrants) make to this country and how they sometimes pay with their lives to safeguard and protect it.

We convey our condolences to his family; We salute you for being a living example of a beautiful soul, an outstanding immigrant, and a true mensch.


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