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The Legacy of Gil-Ad continues..
Boys and Girls who were named in memory of Gil-Ad
There are (at least) twenty five boys and girls who were named in memory of Gil-Ad.
Last year, they were invited, along with their parents to plant trees at the “Tayelet Habanim” on Tu Bishvat. The young children and the trees symbolize hope for the future.
A synagogue is being built in the neighborhood of Neve Talmon in Talmon called “Shirat Gilad The synagogue, a spiritual center for the community, will house a prayer hall, Beit Midrash, social hall for kiddush, study areas and an office for the Rabbi.
The synagogue – as a center for prayer and song, of introspection and gathering as family and community – is a fitting memorial to continue the song of Gil-Ad.
The Gil-Ad Branch, Ofarim
The Bnei Akiva branch in Ofarim, where Gil-Ad was a madrich, is named “The Gil-Ad Branch, Ofarim”. He was only two years older than his chanichim, but they saw him as a role model and learned a great deal about values from him.
They and their parents wanted to remember Gil-Ad in the place they would meet and because they appreciated his unique qualities they chose this name .
The road between the communities of Neriya and Talmon is called “Gil-Ad Road”
This road not only links the two communities, enhancing their security, but also is a lovely place to run, bike, or hike in nature with family. It is the first road built with loud speakers along the path so you are always accompanied by music.
Sifrei Torah have been written in his memory and are in active use in a variety of synagogues in the country.
One of the Torah scrolls written in memory of the three boys is called “Sefer Reut” (The scroll of friendship). It is a special portable Sefer Torah and its completion was celebrated at the residence of the President of Israel. It is currently housed with the Duvdevan Unit of the Army. The Duvdevan were especially active and dedicated in the search for the boys during the eighteen days and later in identifying the terrorists.
Sefer Reut accompanies army units when they leave on rescue missions and other official duties and symbolizes the friendship and good will of Israel towards citizens throughout the world.
Jewish Unity Day
The Jerusalem Jewish Unity Prize -A joint project of the three families along with former mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat. This award is presented annually to organizations or individuals who have made major contributions to foster Jewish unity in Israel and throughout the Jewish World.
It is a major event hosted at the residence of the President of Israel and celebrates and highlights the continuation of the spirit of Jewish unity which informed those difficult weeks of search for the kidnapped boys.
Jewish Unity Day is commemorated by thousands of students and adults all over the world with curriculum, discussion groups, studies and activities to promote unity and mutual respect. It is celebrated to mark the yahrzeit of the boys.
For more information about Unity Day and the Jerusalem Unity Prize see our website http://unityprize.org/
Adjacent to the place where the boys were kidnapped, a nature preserve, “Oz V’Gaon (an acronym for Gil-Ad, Eyal and Naftali) was created.
The bereaved families planted trees as a symbol of hope and continuity. Public events and lectures take place there, as well as family gatherings and picnics.
Tayelet Habanim – (“The promenade of the Boys”) Along the road connecting the communities of Alon Shvut and Rosh Tzurim, there is a breathtaking promenade overlooking the Judean mountains which is dedicated to the memory of the three boys. There is also an overlook dedicated to the memory of Ezra Shwartz (HY”D).
A local artist, Rachel Ben Asher, created a mosaic for each of the boys which tells their unique story. In addition, there is an audio button and you can hear their parent tell their story.
The unity experienced during the period of search for the boys has also been memorialized in songs written then which left a lasting impression on the Jewish world.
One of the songs, “Ptach Libcha” was sung by Israel’s top artists; David D’or, Avrohom Fried, Kobi Afilalo, Yishai Ribo, Yonatan Razel and David Broza. They were accompanied by the choir of the boys’ Yeshiva, Mekor Chaim. The song was written by David D’or and Shlomo Ilan Keinan