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Thursday, August 03, 2006

American immigrant from my home town killed in rocket attack

It turns out that the person who was killed yesterday at Kibbutz Saar was an American. Not only that, but he was from my home town of Newton, Massachusetts. And we were almost the same age, although I don't think I knew him growing up. Here's the story from the Jerusalem Post:
American immigrant David Martin Lelchook's last conversation with his wife took place only 15 minutes before he was killed by shrapnel from the missile that landed in his front yard on Wednesday afternoon. He told her that he had to stay in their small Kibbutz Sa'ar home to care for the crops and for their three dogs and three cats, even though she and many of his neighbors had sought refugee in safer parts of the country.

"He was scared but he refused to leave. He said, 'Someone has to stay,'" Lelchook's wife, Esti, told The Jerusalem Post.

Shortly after that last phone call, she heard on the news that a man on a bicycle had been killed at Sa'ar, near Nahariya. She believed it was him, based both on the pictures of the destroyed home and because her husband had loved to cycle.

"I still can't believe it. He was careful and often went into a protected room," she said. She sighed and added, "But he was not careful enough. Now I have joined the circle of bereaved families."

Lelchook, 52, is the third person from the Nahariya area to be killed by Hizbullah rockets in the past two weeks. On July 18, Andre Zilensky was killed when a missile hit him outside of a communal bomb shelter in the city. On July 13, Argentinean immigrant Monica Lehrer Zeidman was killed when a rocket hit her penthouse apartment in Nahariya.

As a result of the rockets assaults, both Nahariya and Kibbutz Sa'ar resemble ghost towns. On Wednesday alone, some 60 rockets landed in the area. A few homes in the city were damaged and 22 people were lightly wounded or were treated for shock, according to Nahariya police.


Esti said that ever since her husband was a young boy growing up in Newton, Massachusetts, he had dreamed of living in Israel. He visited several times as a volunteer before he immigrated in 1980, she said. They met while he was working with children in an outlying area during his first years in the country.

At first they lived in Nahariya, but they moved to Sa'ar 16 years ago so that they could raise their children in a more pastoral setting and fulfill his dream of working the land.


His black bicycle lay off to the side. It is assumed that Lelchook left it there following his return home, minutes before the attack. Some neighbors said that he was still outside when the missile fell because he was calling his dogs into the house for their protection. Others believe he simply didn't have time to make it to safety.


At 8:30 PM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...


The surname is not familiar to me, either. When I went to Newton High, it was the old school, with Buildings I, II, and III.I had heard that 'someone' from the Boston area had been murdered.

This is from a local paper...the family lived in Newton Centre.


At 10:21 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Newton Centre was where I lived. If I had gone to public high school, it would have been to Newton North, which is right there.

At 10:26 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Just looked at the article. He went to South. Other side of town.

At 12:32 AM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

I saw that he did...the not so new anymore one that replaced mine, which had students from all of Newton, reminds me of a minimum security prison. After all, I graduated in 1955.Most of my friends were from Newton Centre.

A friend in Brookline told me her Rabbi, at KI, spoke of David Martin Lelchook HY"D yesterday.


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