World ORTs memorial for Beit Sheans local heroes


17 April 2008 World ORTs memorial for Beit Sheans local heroes World ORT has equipped a memorial room for fallen soldiers in the historic town of Beit Shean and dedicated it to Shani Turgeman zl, who was killed in the Hezbollah ambush which sparked the Second Lebanon War. More than 150 people attended a moving opening ceremony including Shanis friends and family as well as Beit Shean Mayor Jackie Levy, former foreign minister David Levy and World ORT representatives. It is the final project to commemorate the three soldiers killed while on duty with ORT Braude College of Engineering student Tomer Weinberg. Tomer survived the attack despite sustaining serious injuries. He told his story at last years Board of Directors meeting, prompting lay leaders and World ORT professionals to donate towards the projects. The first project, in memory of Wassim Nazal, was the purchase and installation of state-of-the-art equipment for a technology class at the junior high school in his home town of Kfar Yanuach, near the Lebanon border. The second project, in memory of Eyal Banim zl, was the creation of a high-tech facility at the Pisga Centre in Katsrin, the pedagogical and teacher training centre for teachers in the Golan. Like the previous projects, Tomer has been heavily involved in the process to commemorate Shani Turgeman by creating a study room in his name at the local Yad LeBanim building the organisation which provides emotional and other support for the families of fallen soldiers. After long deliberations it was decided to do two things, said Sherrie Gazit, PR, Missions and Projects Manager at World ORTs Representative Office in Israel. We supplied furniture with individual compartments containing information about each soldier, his life and the battle in which he fell, and computers for the study room. In addition, we donated a computer and a projector for the Yad LeBanim auditorium and more computers around the main hall. Adjoining the Yad LeBanim building is Beit Sheans Pisga Centre, similar to the one in Katsrin. The idea is that teachers who visit the Pisga Centre will be able to use the computers in Yad LeBanim to obtain material in order to prepare lessons about the different wars and battles fought by Israel and about the political and defensive strategies, Ms Gazit said. They will be able to bring their pupils to Yad LeBanim so that they can also learn about and prepare assignments on these topics. Pupils will also be able to prepare individual projects about the fallen soldiers. At the opening ceremony, Albert Turgeman gave a PowerPoint presentation about his son featuring photographs, text, music, and video. Shanis mother, Marcelle, shared her memories of the day her son died: After I heard the news of the attack, and he didnt answer his mobile phone, I was sure that he had been kidnapped. I didnt think for one moment that he had actually been killed. Not until they came and told me. Mayor Levy (pictured, left, with Tomer Weinberg, Marcelle Turgeman, Sherrie Gazit, Head of the World ORT Representative Office in Israel Rony Kalinsky, and David Levy) urged bereaved families to bring material about their dear ones for the study room so that local people could have the opportunity to learn about them. By giving the children the opportunity to do projects about the fallen of Beit Shean and the different battles that took place, the fallen are being perpetuated for future generations, and the children are learning about the importance of a Jewish homeland, he said. David Levy, who lives in Beit Shean, said: History shows that because of all those who have fallen here on Israeli soil, the Jews still have a homeland and the importance of a homeland for the Jews. The Turgeman family now belongs to two families: the family of bereaved parents on the one hand and the family of national heroes on the other. According to David Ben Gurion, Everyone has to die sometime but by dying while protecting our heritage these heroes are giving life to others. Shani was clever and talented and the pride of our town and thats how well remember him.