Hero in Heaven.
Three years ago, I was on USY pilgrimage with my best friend Carly, one day she pulled me aside and asked me if I wanted to go out for the day with her and Matan on free weekend, I was ecstatic. She told me that we were going to har herzl to visit Michael Levin, a person I heard about all through USY, a true hero to the entire Hagesher USY region. I was so nervous because I knew the relationship Car and Michael had and I knew this was the first time she would be visiting his grave. Matan walked us through all of Har Herzl, we finally were walking towards Michael’s area, and I knew it was his as soon as I saw it, because of all the Philly, Ramah and USY stuff around it. Carly grabbed my hand and together we shared this life changing moment. A week or two later my entire pilgrimage group went to Har Herzl, it was August 1st. As my leader was talking about the specific area we were heading towards I looked and Carly and she looked at me. Tears streaming down both of our faces, this is a moment I will never forget.
Now a student at University of Arizona, I have the privilege to teach at a synagogue in Tucson. One of the lessons I teach is about Israel and the love we have towards the holy land. While speaking about Michael in my class, my fifth graders eyes were set on me; all of this was sinking in. Then one of my students raised their hand and said “Courtney, he did all of this for the love of Israel? That is a true hero”. Although I never knew Michael personally, the impact he had on my life, my best friends life and the life of hundreds and hundred of people makes him a true inspiration. Every day, I remind myself “you can’t fulfill your dreams unless you dare to risk it all”.