On Wednesday May 30th — 9th day in Sivan — I had the sad honor to officiate at the funeral of General Shimon Erem. He was a true Shomer Yisrael — a guardian of Israel. After a career in the Israel Defense Forces, defeating some of Israel’s enemies in four wars, he turned to Israel’s friends. He cultivated the friendship. He activated the friendship. Here in the United States he organized the Israel-Christian Nexus and served as its director, building bridges to many Christian denominations and developing many more Shomrey Yisrael. In the Psalms of David we read that “the Guardian of Israel will not slumber and will not sleep.” Of course that refers to our Divine Guardian. With His help, and that of men like Shimon Erem, the Jewish people and the Jewish state is also blessed with human guardians.
For more details of General Erem’s outstanding career, I encourage you to check the StandWithUs website. For myself, I treasure the memory of a certain day during the Succot holiday a few years ago when I first met him. Gary Dalin, who worked with him in the Nexus, brought Shimon Erem to lunch in my Succah. We sat and talked there and Shimon told me about his family, their religious heritage from the generations in Russia, and his own work. I did not know it at the time, but he was fighting another enemy — cancer. He pushed it back again and again, but at the age of 90 he could not push it any more. And yet, whenever you heard him speak you were sure he was never sick a day in his life. His voice was clear and strong, and his message was powerful.
A previous winner of the Cohon Award for outstanding service to the Jewish people, Si Frumkin of blessed memory, placed me on the board of the Israel-Christian Nexus, so it was my honor to serve with General Erem these last years. His legacy is the active good will he built among our neighbors, and the deep respect he inspired in all who came in contact with him. He will be sorely missed.
Zichrono liv’racha — Let his memory be a blessing.