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Heschel Students Commemorated Yom Hazikaron During the Aftermath of Oct. 7

As students silently entered the gym on May 13, Hebrew Department faculty handed out Yizkor stickers. Although Heschel observes Yom Hazikaron every year, this year felt very different due to Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza.

Programming Council VP Elana Farbiarz opened the program with an acknowledgement of the added weight of observing Yom Hazikaron in a post-Oct. 7 world, saying, “Usually we see Yom Hazikaron as historical, but this year it is terrifyingly close.”

Following Farbiarz’s speech, students and Heschel parents were called up to commemorate three fallen soldiers from various conflicts. Among those honored was Adir Mesika, a twenty-three year old Israeli who died fighting Hamas terrorists during the Oct. 7 attack.

Adir’s aunts, Morielle and Ilana Lotan, described Adir as a role model to every person he met, having a gift for communicating with the people around him. He loved surfing and was usually late to Shabbat dinner because he stayed out to watch the sunset. After his army service, during which he was the commander of the Combat Engineering Corps, he traveled the world and began making jewelry. Eventually, he decided to open his own business called “FLOW Jewels.” 

In Adir’s final hours, he texted his brother to let him know how much he loved him. At the time, he was hiding in a shelter with his girlfriend and his friends, Ilai Nahman and Matan Eckstein. When terrorists entered the shelter, Adir ran out with his friends to protect everyone else inside. They were killed during the attack but saved many others in the shelter.

In his honor, Adir’s family created numerous organizations to commemorate his life. His father started “Adir’s Diamonds,” an organization devoted to providing soldiers with wedding rings to help them start a family. Adir’s brother, Or, took over “FLOW Jewels” to keep Adir’s vision alive. Additionally, his family founded the Adir Challenge Foundation, an organization hoping to combat antisemitism through innovative technologies. His surf club also led a surf circle in his honor.

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